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Microbes Infect. 2000 Feb;2(2):115-20.

Detection of Epstein-Barr virus in salivas and throat washings in healthy adults and children.

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  • 1Department of Biosignaling, School of Life Science, Faculty of Medicine, Tottori University, Yonago 683-8503, Japan.


It is well known that Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is excreted from oral regions in the patients with infectious mononucleosis. We analyzed the prevalence of EBV in saliva and throat washings from healthy people in Japan by the polymerase chain reaction assay. EBV DNA was detected in 43 (90%) of the 48 throat washings from healthy adults (21 to 57 years old) and in 35 (38%) of the 93 salivas from healthy children (0 to 6 years old). The percentages of the EBV DNA-positive ratio in salivas increased in proportion relative to the increase of the children's ages. EBV type 1 was predominant and was detected in 86 and 94% of adults and children, respectively. Umbilical cord lymphocytes were transformed by some throat washings from EBV seropositive donors. EBV DNA was detected in throat washings from two healthy adults whose EBV antibody was not detected. In both cases, higher amounts of EBV DNA were detected in their peripheral blood mononuclear cells than in those of other, EBV antibody-positive donors. These results demonstrated the incidence of EBV excretion in oral regions of healthy individuals in Japan and defined a novel type of EBV infection in healthy adults.

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