Vertical transmission of JC virus and BK virus has been investigated by few authors, with conflicting results. We performed a combined serological and genomic study of 19 unselected pregnant women and their newborns. Blood and urine samples were collected during each gestational trimester from the pregnant women. Umbilical cord blood, peripheral blood, urine and nasopharyngeal secretion samples were taken from newborns at delivery and after 1 week and 1 month of life. Polyomavirus DNA was detected by nested PCR. Polyomavirus IgG-, IgM- and IgA-specific antibodies were measured in maternal and newborn serum samples using a viruslike-particle-based ELISA method. BKV and JCV DNA were detected in urine from 4 (21%) and 5 (26%) women, respectively. BKV and JCV seroprevalences in the pregnant women were 84% and 42%, respectively. Using a rise in the IgG level or the transient appearance of an IgA or IgM response as evidence of infection in the newborn, we detected BKV and JCV infections in four (21%) and three (16%) newborns, respectively. Three infants had serological evidence of infection with both BKV and JCV. In two of the four possible BKV-infected newborns, the mothers seroconverted during pregnancy, while another mother was viruric and IgA seropositive. The mother of one of the three possible JCV-infected newborns was viruric and IgA seropositive; another mother was viruric. These results suggest JC virus and BK virus can be transmitted from mother to newborn during pregnancy or soon after birth.
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