Severe acute colitis associated with CMV: A prevalence study

V. Criscuoli, A. Casà, A. Orlando, G. Pecoraro, L. Oliva, M. Traina, A. Rizzo, M. Cottone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Cytomegalovirus has been identified as a pathogen that contributes to flares of colitis when detected in colonic specimens of patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Aim: To determine the overall prevalence and the role of cytomegalovirus infection in a consecutive series of patients with acute severe colitis admitted to our department from 2000 to 2003. Methods: Among 42 patients (38 with ulcerative colitis and 4 with Crohn's disease) admitted to our hospital for acute severe colitis, we performed proctoscopy and biopsy together with blood sample for cytomegalovirus determination at the time of admission, regardless of their steroid resistance. Results: In the 42 patients, we discovered an overall cytomegalovirus infection prevalence of 21.4% (9/42) in our geographical area. In seven patients (16.6%), cytomegalovirus was detected through biopsy. The presence of cytomegalovirus in biopsies was not always predictive of steroid resistance. Three patients with cytomegalovirus in biopsies responded to conventional treatment without needing any antiviral treatment, which suggests that the virus plays only an incidental role. Conclusions: Cytomegalovirus is frequently associated with colitis but it is not always pathogenic. Studies on the genotyping of the virus might explain the diversity of its biological behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)818-820
Number of pages3
JournalDigestive and Liver Disease
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004


  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Steroid resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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