We report a case of fatal measles viral pneumonia in a patient with Hodgkin's disease who had no rash. The measles viral cDNA was detected in autopsy tissue from the lung by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. This method was then applied successfully to stored serum. The diagnosis of measles viral pneumonia may be improved by the application of RT-PCR using peripheral blood. Sequence analysis of amplified cDNA suggested the virus infecting this patient was a recent strain, predominantly isolated after 1980. The fatal outcome may have been due to a lack of immune response to the newer strain.
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