Many cases of Fuchs' uveitis have been associated with persistent rubella virus infection. A 73-year-old male patient with typical Fuchs' Uveitis Syndrome (FUS) first experienced heterochromia of the left eye at the age fourteen, when rubella was endemic in the US.
The purposes of this report are to describe the patient's FUS clinical presentations and to characterize the virus detected in the vitreous fluid.
The patient underwent a therapeutic pars plana vitrectomy in May 2013. A real-time RT-PCR assay for rubella virus was performed on the vitreous fluid by Focus Diagnostics. Additional real-time RT-PCR assays for rubella virus detection and RT-PCR assays for generation of templates for sequencing were performed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The results from Focus Diagnostics were positive for rubella virus RNA. Real-time RT-PCR assays at CDC were also positive for rubella virus. A rubella virus sequence of 739 nucleotides was determined and phylogenetic analysis showed that the virus was the sole member of a new phylogenetic group when compared to reference virus sequences.
While FUS remains a clinical diagnosis, findings in this case support the association between rubella virus and the disease. Phylogenetic analysis provided evidence that this rubella virus was likely a previously undetected genotype which is no longer circulating. Since the patient had rubella prior to 1955, this sequence is from the earliest rubella virus yet characterized.
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