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Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2004 Jan 31;116(1-2):47-50.

Severe thrombocytopenia as a complication of acute Epstein-Barr virus infection.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Unit of Nephrology and Hypertension, University Hospital Center Rebro, Zagreb, Croatia. RobertLikic@inet.hr


Severe thrombocytopenia is an extremely rare complication of acute Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection. EBV infection usually causes hematological abnormalities, mainly atypical lymphocytosis, which is a feature of infectious mononucleosis, and uncomplicated cases often present with mild decreases in platelet counts. Our otherwise healthy, 21-year-old male Caucasian patient had thrombocytopenia and bleeding diathesis with platelet counts of 8 x 10(9)/L without other signs and symptoms of infectious mononucleosis. We commenced treatment with intravenous methylprednisolone before the acute EBV infection was serologically confirmed. Platelet counts initially rose and then fell after we stopped administrating corticosteroids. Repeated administration of methylprednisolone was followed by full recovery of the platelet count and normalization of formerly elevated transaminases. EBV infection may happen in children, adolescents and adults and this differential diagnosis should be considered in every patient presenting with acute thrombocytopenia.

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