An allogeneic transplant recipient developed severe graft versus host disease (GvHD) 48 days after transplantation that was concomitant with a cytomegalovirus (CMV) viraemia, from which she subsequently died. CMV infection was detected in blood by the polymerase chain reaction and later in tissue by immunohistochemical techniques. CMV should be considered in patients in whom GvHD does not respond to appropriate treatment, and this case suggests that herpes viruses may increase the severity of GvHD by synergistically enhancing the graft versus host reaction.
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