A 7 year old child perinatally infected with HIV who died from progressive muscular paralysis and central nervous respiratory failure is described. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) prophylaxis with a special intravenous CMV hyper-immunoglobulin had been successfully conducted for more than four years. Macroscopic and microscopic immunohistochemical examination of the spinal cord revealed a diffuse CMV infiltration of the entire myelon. CMV infected cells were identified as astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, neurons, macrophages, ependymal, endothelial, and Schwann cells. Other organs had no signs of CMV infection. Central nervous spinal CMV infection was most probably due to insufficient penetration of the blood-brain barrier by the CMV hyper-immunoglobulin. In suspicious cases early spinal magnetic resonance imaging (1.5 tesla) combined with an examination of urine and cerebrospinal fluid for CMV is recommended.
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