Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) Acute Infection Antibodies Profile

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Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) Acute Infection Antibodies Profile
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Overview

Epstein-Barr (EB) virus is a herpes group virus that is ubiquitous. It is the cause of classic infectious mononucleosis and is causally implicated in the pathogenesis of Burkitt lymphoma, some nasopharyngeal carcinomas, and rare hereditary lymphoproliferative disorders. The serologic response to EB virus includes antibody to early antigen, IgM and IgG antibodies to viral capsid antigen (VCA), and antibodies to Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen (EBNA)

Epstein-Barr (EB) virus is a herpes group virus that is ubiquitous. It is the cause of classic infectious mononucleosis and is causally implicated in the pathogenesis of Burkitt lymphoma, some nasopharyngeal carcinomas, and rare hereditary lymphoproliferative disorders. The serologic response to EB virus includes antibody to early antigen, IgM and IgG antibodies to viral capsid antigen (VCA), and antibodies to Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen (EBNA).

Although most cases of infectious mononucleosis can be diagnosed on the basis of clinical findings, blood count and morphology, and a positive test for heterophile antibody, as many as 20% may be heterophile-negative, at least at presentation (Heterophile may become positive when repeated in a few days). In some of these cases, a test for Epstein-Barr virus antibodies may be useful.

The most controversial use of EBV serology is in chronic fatigue syndrome, a complaint predominantly (but not exclusively) of young to middle-aged women, characterized by long persistent debilitating fatigue and a panoply of usually mild somatic complaints. The high levels of EBV antibodies in the general population, their long persistence, and the poor correlation of antibody titers with symptoms combine to make EBV serology useless in diagnosing, following, or ruling out chronic fatigue syndrome. See table.