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Alternative Names Return to topPML
Definition Return to top
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) is a rare disorder that damages the material (myelin) that covers and protects nerves in the white matter of the brain.
Causes Return to top
The JC virus (JCV) causes PML. This virus is found in a lot of people, but usually does not cause symptoms. However, it triggers PML in people who have poor immune function (immunocompromised).
The disease occurs in 4% of adults with AIDS.
Symptoms Return to top
Exams and Tests Return to topTests may include:
Treatment Return to top
Treatment consists of antiviral drugs and other medications.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
PML is a very serious condition. Talk to your doctor about care decisions.
References Return to top
Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 5th ed. London: Churchill Livingstone; 2000:1856-1861.
Cohen J, Powderly WG. Infectious Diseases. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Elsevier; 2004:2046.Update Date: 2/13/2008 Updated by: Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Departments of Anatomy & Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.