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Adv Exp Med Biol. 2005;568:25-39.

The ABC of Epstein-Barr virus infections.

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  • Division of Infectious Diseases, Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto.


The EBV has evolved mechanisms that allow it to take advantages of different aspects of the human immune system, resulting in evasion of the defense mechanisms of the host. The virus is capable of resting calmly in a "sea of tranquility". The virus has the unique ability among herpesviruses to transform infected B lymphocytes, thereby creating the potential for uncontrolled lymphoproliferation. Such lymphoproliferation occurs when the immune system is deregulated as a result of inborn defects or acquired defects (e.g., XLP syndrome and organ transplantation, respectively). Otherwise, EBV is kept in check by the surveillance activity of cytotoxic T lymphocytes and NK cells.

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