Viral and fungal infections in liver transplant recipients are important to recognize and treat early because of their association with substantial morbidity and mortality. Some viruses, such as cytomegalovirus and human herpesvirus 6, have immunomodulatory properties and can facilitate other infections, including fungal infections. Cytomegalovirus has long been recognized as an important virus in transplantation, but in the past decade other viruses have also received attention in the medical literature because of their association with particular clinical syndromes. Although human herpesvirus 6 has been associated with fever, rash, and encephalitis, a direct cause-and-effect relationship is still lacking. Human herpesvirus 8 has been found to be the cause of Kaposi sarcoma. Molecular techniques (e.g., pp65 antigenemia and polymerase chain reaction) that have been introduced for routine diagnosis of viruses have facilitated the diagnosis of asymptomatic viral infections and the institution of preemptive therapy. Nonetheless, the diagnosis of invasive fungal infections in liver transplant recipients is often delayed and thus associated with high mortality. Despite the use of new antifungal agents in clinical practice and the reduced incidence of fungal infections because of antifungal prophylaxis regimens, mortality has not decreased. Future patient outcomes may improve with early identification of patients who have risk factors for invasive fungal infections and with the development of new molecular diagnostic techniques for early detection.
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