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What is the JC virus?

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The JC virus, or John Cunningham virus, is a germ so common that the majority of adults have been exposed to it. The virus was first discovered in 1971, when a doctor found it in the brain of a man with Hodgkin's lymphoma and named the virus after him.

It doesn't cause problems for most people, but it can be dangerous if you have a weak immune system. There's no known way to keep yourself from getting it. Experts don't know how it's spread, but it's thought that many people pick it up as kids through food or water infected with the virus. It settles in your urinary tract, bone marrow, tonsils, or brain. It can stay there for years, and most people never know they have it.

From: What Is the JC Virus? WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

American Association for Clinical Chemistry: "JC Virus: What Is It, and How Should I Test for It?"

American Journal of Neuroradiology: "JC Virus Infection of the Brain."

Journal of Virology: published online December 2010. Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy in a patient without apparent immunosuppression,

Merck Manual: "Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML)."

Multiple Sclerosis Trust: "JC virus."

National Institutes of Health, AIDS Info: "Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents."

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: "NINDS Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy Information Page."

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on July 10, 2018

SOURCES:

American Association for Clinical Chemistry: "JC Virus: What Is It, and How Should I Test for It?"

American Journal of Neuroradiology: "JC Virus Infection of the Brain."

Journal of Virology: published online December 2010. Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy in a patient without apparent immunosuppression,

Merck Manual: "Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML)."

Multiple Sclerosis Trust: "JC virus."

National Institutes of Health, AIDS Info: "Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents."

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: "NINDS Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy Information Page."

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on July 10, 2018

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What illness can the JC virus cause?

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