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The incidence of cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection was established, using laboratory criteria, in 298 patients receiving 362 renal allografts (164/298=55%). The incidence of CMV infection did not differ between azathioprine/prednisolone-treated and cyclosporine-treated patients (55% vs. 57% NS). The use of antithymocyte globulin (ATG) increased the incidence of CMV infection (78% vs. 51%: P < 0.01). Donor and recipient CMV status, known for 116 allografts, did not correlate with the incidence of CMV infection (recipient CMV-positive=50%; recipient CMV-negative=54%: NS). CMV infection was responsible for 8 patients' deaths (2.7% mortality). Thirty-three patients with acute transplant glomerulopathy were identified (11%). There was no correlation between acute transplant glomerulopathy and CMV infection. Glomerulopathy was associated with poor graft survival (22/33 patients with a graft survival of < 6 months). Thus CMV infection, although a common complication of renal transplantation with significant morbidity and mortality, is not closely associated with acute transplant glomerulopathy. Further, the lack of correlation of donor-recipient CMV serologic status with graft outcome limits the usefulness of pretransplantation donor screening.