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Successful treatment of parainfluenza virus 3 pneumonia with oral ribavirin and methylprednisolone in a bone marrow transplant recipient

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We report a case of severe parainfluenza (PIV) 3 pneumonia in a hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipient that was successfully treated with oral ribavirin and methylprednisolone. A 42-year-old woman diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia (FAB M5a) in first complete remission underwent allogeneic bone marrow transplantation from an HLA-matched unrelated donor in May 2006. In July 2007, she developed PIV3 pneumonia. Her respiratory status progressively worsened and she required O2 inhalation at 6 L/min. After an informed consent was obtained, oral ribavirin was initiated (16 mg/kg per day) for 1 week on July 31. By day 3 of treatment, the high-grade fever had disappeared. However, it recurred after ribavirin was discontinued. In addition, the patient’s hypoxia continued to worsen, requiring O2 inhalation at 9 L/min. To suppress the inflammatory reaction in the lung caused by PIV3 pneumonia, intravenous methylprednisolone (1,000 mg once a day for 3 days) was started along with high-dose oral ribavirin (16 mg/kg per day) on August 11. The patient showed dramatic clinical improvement, and oxygen inhalation was discontinued on September 3. Our case suggests that with concomitant effective anti-viral treatment, corticosteroids may suppress host inflammatory or immune reactions that lead to respiratory failure.

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We thank Dr. Takahiro Fukuda (National Cancer Center Hospital, Tokyo, Japan) for his valuable suggestions.

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Correspondence to Takahiro Shima.

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Shima, T., Yoshimoto, G., Nonami, A. et al. Successful treatment of parainfluenza virus 3 pneumonia with oral ribavirin and methylprednisolone in a bone marrow transplant recipient. Int J Hematol 88, 336–340 (2008).

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