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Clin Microbiol Rev. 2011 Jan;24(1):193-209. doi: 10.1128/CMR.00044-10.

Progress and problems in understanding and managing primary Epstein-Barr virus infections.

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  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Minnesota Medical School, MMC 437, 420 Delaware St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455-0392, USA.


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a gammaherpesvirus that infects a large fraction of the human population. Primary infection is often asymptomatic but results in lifelong infection, which is kept in check by the host immune system. In some cases, primary infection can result in infectious mononucleosis. Furthermore, when host-virus balance is not achieved, the virus can drive potentially lethal lymphoproliferation and lymphomagenesis. In this review, we describe the biology of EBV and the host immune response. We review the diagnosis of EBV infection and discuss the characteristics and pathogenesis of infectious mononucleosis. These topics are approached in the context of developing therapeutic and preventative strategies.

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