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Diana Florescu

Dr. Diana Florescu

Assistant Professor
University of Nebraska Medical Center

Dr. Diana Florescu is an Assistant Professor in the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s department of Internal Medicine, Section of Infectious Diseases. She studies the clinical impact of the herpes virus on immuno-suppressed patients. More specifically, her research explores the consequences of reactivation or infection with herpes viruses (especially CMV and EBV) in organ transplants recipients. She is trying to find ways to minimize the impact of these viruses on morbidity, mortality and graft survival.

Dr. Florescu received her medical degree from the Universitatea De Medicina Si Farmacie in 1993 and completed her postgraduate training at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut and Colombia University. Her contributions as clinician and active researcher are evident through the appearance of several articles in scholarly journals and publications highlighting her work. She now serves the UNMC community as a member of the Transplant Infectious Diseases Program. She is member of the Subspecialty Clinic Advisory Council and Medical Center Infection Control Committee. She is the Director of the Infectious Diseases Clinic.

One of the great advances in medicine in the last two decades has been the ability to transplant organs into a patient with organ failure who would otherwise have died. Transplanted organs include kidneys, livers, hearts, lungs, bone marrow, small bowel, etc. The success of transplantation depends on suppressing the human immune system which would ordinarily have rejected the transplanted organ as foreign, a response that enables the organism to survive invasion by microorganisms. Not surprisingly, infections are the leading cause of death in transplant patients. Viruses of low invasiveness, which cause mild infections in immune competent individuals, may cause severe or fatal infections in transplant recipients. Examples include herpes simplex, adenovirus, varicella (chickenpox), EBV (which causes mononucleosis in normal persons) and cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections.

There are eight human herpesviruses. Also, many animal species have their own herpesvirus. What these viruses have in common is the ability to hide out in the body without causing symptoms and then reactivate at a later date. The virus is passed directly from skin to skin with friction. It enters easily through mucous membranes, like the moist skin which lines the mouth. It can also enter through a cut or break in the ordinary skin on other parts of the body: fingers/hands, knees, etc.