Human herpesvirus 6 activity (HHV-6) was studied in 15 allogeneic and 11 autologous marrow transplantation patients. After transplantation, HHV-6 was isolated from the peripheral blood mononuclear cells of 12 of 26 patients (6 allogeneic and 6 autologous). All isolates were variant B. Eleven of 26 and 12 of 19 patients showed salivary shedding of HHV-6 DNA before and after transplantation, respectively. The antibody titer increased in 7 of 26 patients. Thus, 23 of 26 patients showed evidence of active HHV-6 infection either by virus isolation, salivary shedding, or increases in antibody titers. The fraction of saliva specimens positive in 19 patients was negatively associated with their antibody titers (P= .005). The proportion of cultures positive increased after transplantation (P = .007). Sinusitis was associated with HHV-6 isolation in autologous recipients (P= .002). In allogeneic patients, active human cytomegalovirus infection was associated with HHV-6 isolation (P = .04). No association was observed between HHV-6 infection and GVHD, pneumonia, delay in engraftment, or marrow suppression. Of the 120 clinical events analyzed in 26 patients, HHV-6 was defined as a probable cause of 16 events in 9 patients based on the propinquity of HHV-6 activity and the clinical event plus the absence of other identified causes of the event.

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