Chapter 7 : Human Herpesviruses 6A, 6B, and 7

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Human herpesviruses 6A, 6B, and 7 (HHV-6A, HHV-6B, HHV-7), are members of the family , subfamily , and genus . The three viruses are genetically close to each other and to cytomegalovirus (CMV), the type-species of human betaherpesviruses. Like other human herpesviruses, they are ubiquitous and establish a lifelong latent infection which originates further reactivations and reinfections. Early after the recent discovery of the three viruses, these properties, as well as the genetic relationship with CMV, have been a potent rationale for speculating on their potential pathogenicity in the immunocompromised population. The pathogenic role of HHV-6, this term collectively referring to HHV-6A and HHV-6B, is now ascertained in immunocompromised subjects whereas the clinical impact of HHV-7 infection appears less important in this domain. However, numerous questions are still pending, regarding diagnostic as well as therapeutic approaches targeted to these three viruses. Due to their strong similarities, the three viruses will be presented together throughout the chapter and specific details will be given for each of them within the different sections when needed.

Citation: Agut H, Bonnafous P, Gautheret-Dejean A. 2016. Human Herpesviruses 6A, 6B, and 7, p 157-176. In Hayden R, Wolk D, Carroll K, Tang Y (ed),

Diagnostic Microbiology of the Immunocompromised Host, Second Edition

. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.DMIH2-0007-2015
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Figure 1

Proposal of algorithm for the diagnosis and therapy monitoring of HHV-6-associated disease in an immunocompromised patient. It must be recalled that some of the virological tests mentioned in this algorithm are not widely available in medical centers and that the predictive value of positive results for the diagnosis of infection or disease is not formally established for many of the indicated sample types.

Citation: Agut H, Bonnafous P, Gautheret-Dejean A. 2016. Human Herpesviruses 6A, 6B, and 7, p 157-176. In Hayden R, Wolk D, Carroll K, Tang Y (ed),

Diagnostic Microbiology of the Immunocompromised Host, Second Edition

. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.DMIH2-0007-2015
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Generic image for table
Table 1

Clinical syndromes associated with HHV-6 infections

Citation: Agut H, Bonnafous P, Gautheret-Dejean A. 2016. Human Herpesviruses 6A, 6B, and 7, p 157-176. In Hayden R, Wolk D, Carroll K, Tang Y (ed),

Diagnostic Microbiology of the Immunocompromised Host, Second Edition

. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.DMIH2-0007-2015
Generic image for table
Table 2

Diagnostic approaches for HHV-6 and HHV-7 infections

Citation: Agut H, Bonnafous P, Gautheret-Dejean A. 2016. Human Herpesviruses 6A, 6B, and 7, p 157-176. In Hayden R, Wolk D, Carroll K, Tang Y (ed),

Diagnostic Microbiology of the Immunocompromised Host, Second Edition

. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.DMIH2-0007-2015

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