Human Pegivirus in Patients with Encephalitis of Unclear Etiology, Poland

Emerging Infectious Diseases
Iwona Bukowska-OśkoT Laskus


Human pegivirus (HPgV), previously called hepatitis G virus or GB virus C, is a lymphotropic virus with undefined pathology. Because many viruses from the family Flaviviridae, to which HPgV belongs, are neurotropic, we studied whether HPgV could infect the central nervous system. We tested serum and cerebrospinal fluid samples from 96 patients with a diagnosis of encephalitis for a variety of pathogens by molecular methods and serology; we also tested for autoantibodies against neuronal antigens. We found HPgV in serum and cerebrospinal fluid from 3 patients who had encephalitis of unclear origin; that is, all the markers that had been tested were negative. Single-strand confirmation polymorphism and next-generation sequencing analysis revealed differences between the serum and cerebrospinal fluid-derived viral sequences, which is compatible with the presence of a separate HPgV compartment in the central nervous system. It is unclear whether HPgV was directly responsible for encephalitis in these patients.


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