Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy
National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.
It is possible that the main title of the report Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy is not the name you expected.
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) (1) is a neurological disorder characterized by destruction of cells that produce the myelin, an oily substance that helps protect nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, also known as central nervous system (CNS) white matter. It is caused by a virus called JC virus (JCV), named after the initials of the patient in whom it was first discovered. The virus is widespread, found in up to 85% of the general adult population. It remains inactive in healthy individuals and causes disease only when the immune system has been severely weakened, such as in people with HIV/AIDS, or hematological malignancies, and in organ transplant recipients who receive immunosuppressant medications to avoid rejection of the transplanted organ. Altogether, PML occurs in approximately one in 200,000 people. Each year, it is estimated that 4000 people develop PML in the United States and Europe combined.
The term "progressive" in PML means that the disease continues to get worse and often leads to serious brain damage. The term "multifocal" means that JCV causes disease in multiple parts of the brain. However, it is possible for an individual with PML to have only one brain lesion instead of several lesions. The term "leukoencephalopathy" means that the disease affects mainly the white matter of the brain or myelin, although there are some rare cases in which the gray matter neurons are also involved.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- 1600 Clifton Road NE
- Atlanta, GA 30333
- Tel: (404)639-3534
- Tel: (800)232-4636
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: http://www.cdc.gov/
Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
- PO Box 8126
- Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
- Tel: (301)251-4925
- Fax: (301)251-4911
- Tel: (888)205-2311
- Website: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/
NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
- P.O. Box 5801
- Bethesda, MD 20824
- Tel: (301)496-5751
- Fax: (301)402-2186
- Tel: (800)352-9424
- Website: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/
The Courtney Project, Inc.
- 117 North Kirkman Road
- Orlando, FL 32811
- Tel: (321)388-1952
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: http://www.the-courtney-project.org
For a Complete Report
This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). For a full-text version of this report, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".
The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only.
It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report.
This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.
Last Updated: 8/18/2015
Copyright 2015 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.
PeaceHealth endeavors to provide comprehensive health care information, however some topics in this database describe services and procedures not offered by our providers or within our facilities because they do not comply with, nor are they condoned by, the ethics policies of our organization.
Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.