Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy
PML; John Cunningham virus; JCV
The John Cunningham virus, or JC virus (JCV) causes PML. By age 10, most people have been infected with this virus though it hardly ever causes symptoms. But, people with a weakened immune system are at risk of developing PML. Causes of a weakened immune system include:
Symptoms may include any of the following:
Exams and Tests
The health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask about symptoms.
Tests may include:
In people with HIV/AIDS, treatment to strengthen the immune system can lead to recovery from the symptoms of PML. No other treatments have proved effective for PML.
PML is a life-threatening condition. Depending on how severe the infection is, up to one half of people diagnosed with PML die within the first few months.Talk to your provider about care decisions.
Berger JR, Nath A. Cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, and slow virus infections of the central nervous system. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 370.
Tan CS, Koralnik IJ. JC, BK, and other polyomaviruses: progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, Updated Edition. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 147.
Review Date: 2/27/2018
Reviewed By: Joseph V. Campellone, MD, Department of Neurology, Cooper Medical School at Rowan University, Camden, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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