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J Virol. 1996 Oct; 70(10): 6816–6819.
PMCID: PMC190727

Study of mother-to-child Epstein-Barr virus transmission by means of nested PCRs.


The aim of this study was to investigate the possibility of vertical Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) transmission. We developed two nested-PCR methods for amplifying distinct regions of EBV DNA (BNRF1 and BamHI W) in circulating lymphocytes. Nested PCR was applied to samples obtained from 67 mother-infant pairs within 1 week of birth. We also tested samples from 16 neonates born to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected mothers to determine whether HIV increases the potential risk of vertical EBV transmission. About half of the 67 women in the first population were positive by nested PCR. Two neonates born to EBV PCR-positive women were also PCR positive. One of the 16 neonates born to HIV-infected women was PCR positive for EBV. These results strongly support the possibility of EBV transmission in utero or during delivery but do not suggest that HIV infection increases this risk. Further studies are required to confirm these findings, to identify the precise mode of vertical EBV transmission, and to determine the outcome for infants who are positive at birth for EBV DNA by nested PCR.

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Selected References

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