Fatal pulmonary infection with respiratory syncytial virus in an immunocompromised adult patient: A case report

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Abstract

Rationale:

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a single-stranded negative-sense RNA virus that belongs to the family of paramyxoviruses. RSV is the most common pathogen that causes acute lower respiratory tract infection in infants and young children. However, its incidence in immunocompromised adults remains unclear. In the present study, we report an adult patient with chronic nephropathy, who received long-term immunosuppressants and died of rapid respiratory failure due to RSV infection.

Patient concerns:

A 54-year-old male patient with chronic nephropathy, who received long-term immunosuppressants, was admitted to the Department of Respiratory Medicine due to the symptoms of fever, cough, expectoration, and dyspnea.

Diagnoses:

Pulmonary radiology revealed multiple bilateral ground-glass opacity. Laboratory tests revealed elevated inflammation indicators, implying infection with bacteria, viruses, and/or fungi. Furthermore, the patient was positive for RSV antibodies, without positive results for other pathogens. Moreover, the patient was immunocompromised due to the long-term use of corticosteroids and immunosuppressants, as evidenced by decreased total IgG levels and reduced CD4 and CD8 T-lymphocyte counts.

Interventions and outcome:

Despite the intensive anti-infection treatment and respiratory support, the patient developed rapid progression, and subsequently died of respiratory failure.

Lessons:

RSV infection should be fully considered in adults who are immunocompromised or have underlying diseases, such as nephropathy patients receiving long-term immunosuppressants, especially in the presence of respiratory symptoms and computed tomography (CT) chest findings of diffuse ground-glass opacities.

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