Background. Rotaviruses may produce prolonged and severe disease in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HCT) recipients. Nitazoxanide and enterally administered human immunoglobulins are potential therapeutic options. This retrospective study describes the clinical course of rotavirus infection in pediatric allogeneic HCT recipients and a single-center experience with nitazoxanide and oral immunoglobulins as potential treatment options.
Methods. We identified 36 patients who had positive stool rotavirus antigen assays after allogeneic HCT from May 30, 2012 to July 31, 2015. Clinical, microbiologic, and treatment data were collected and analyzed using descriptive statistics.
Results. 49 discrete episodes of rotavirus infection were identified among these 36 patients for a cumulative incidence of 19.7%. For these 49 episodes, the median day to infection after HCT was day 82 and the median duration of diarrhea was 17.5 days (range 4-122). Nitazoxanide and/or enteral immunoglobulins were prescribed for 41 episodes. The median duration of clinical symptoms following initiation of nitazoxanide was 11 days (range 2-85), 23 days (range 10-107) following enteral immunoglobulins, and 26 days (range 6-90) following a combination of nitazoxanide and enteral immunoglobulins (p=0.1). No adverse effects of either treatment were documented, but efficacy could not be assessed in this patient population.
Conclusions. In pediatric HCT recipients, the clinical illness produced by rotaviruses is prolonged compared to otherwise healthy children. Nitazoxanide appears safe, but its efficacy for this indication requires further study.
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