Fatal measles pneumonitis during Hodgkin's lymphoma

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Abstract

The treatment of measles pneumonitis in immunocompromised adults is not established. We describe a patient with Hodgkin's lymphoma who developed acute pneumonia during a measles infection. On day 13, intravenous ribavirin and immunoglobulins were administrated. On day 18, the patient developed acute respiratory failure. An examination of transbronchial pulmonary biopsies showed Warthin-Finkeldey giant cells that are pathognomonic of measles pneumonitis. The patient died despite aggressive supportive care. Our case and a review of literature show that measles pneumonitis is routinely fatal in patients with cancer. We suggest that antiviral drugs should be considered as soon as the diagnosis has been established.

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