Frequently Asked Questions

Bk Virus Infection

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What is a BK virus infection?

A BK virus (BKV) infection is a common viral infection that usually does not cause problems. The BK virus may be spread if you have contact with infected blood or body fluids, such as saliva (spit). It can spread from one person to another during an organ transplant or from a mother to her baby during birth.

What increases my risk of having problems from a BKV infection?

  • Older age

  • Kidney surgery or injury

  • Organ transplant

  • Health conditions that weaken your immune system, such as AIDS or diabetes

What are the signs and symptoms of a BKV infection?

Most people do not have any signs or symptoms of a BKV infection. The virus normally remains inactive in your body when your immune system is strong. If your immune system becomes weak, the virus may become active and you may have any of the following:

  • Blurred vision or vision changes

  • Brown or red urine

  • Pain when you urinate

  • Difficulty urinating, or needing to urinate more than is normal for you

  • Cough, colds, or trouble breathing

  • Fever, muscle pain, or weakness

  • Seizures

How is a BKV infection diagnosed?

  • Blood and urine tests will show if you are infected with the BK virus. They can also check your kidney function and get information about your overall health.

  • A kidney biopsy is a procedure to remove a small amount of tissue from your kidney to see if you are infected with the BK virus.

How is a BKV infection treated?

A BKV infection may resolve on its own, even without treatment. If you take antirejection medicine, your caregiver may change or decrease your dose. You may also need any of the following:

  • Medicines may be used to decrease pain, help your immune system, or kill the BK virus.

  • Bladder irrigation is done to rinse your bladder and help you pass urine.

  • Hyperhydration helps flush your bladder. You may be given liquids to drink or through an IV.

When should I contact my caregiver?

  • You have a fever, or feel weak and achy.

  • You have trouble urinating.

  • You have questions about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

  • Your symptoms get worse and do not go away even after you take pain medicine.

  • You have severe pain when you urinate.

  • Your urine has blood in it.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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