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J Med Virol. 2001 Aug;64(4):505-12.

Dynamics of Epstein-Barr virus DNA levels in serum during EBV-associated disease.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, University Children's Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland.


A real-time polymerase chain reaction assay for quantitation of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNA in serum was developed. This assay detected EBV DNA in 24 (89%) of 27 sera from patients with infectious mononucleosis, but only in 9 (18%) of 51 sera from EBV carriers (P < 0.001) and in none of the sera from 32 EBV-seronegative individuals. EBV DNA levels were higher in sera from infectious mononucleosis (median 8,000, range 1833-150,069 copies/ml) than from carriers (median < 2, range < 2-2980; P < 0.001). In sera of 36 children with infectious mononucleosis followed prospectively, EBV DNA levels correlated inversely with the duration of symptoms. Among 18 children with tumors including Hodgkin's disease (n = 7), non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (n = 6), Burkitt's lymphoma (n = 1), lymphoproliferative disorder (n = 4), and osteosarcoma (n = 1), EBV DNA was detected in serum from those 9 (100%) expressing EBV in the tumor (Hodgkin's disease, 3; non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, 2; lymphoproliferative disorder, 4), the levels peaking at diagnosis and correlating with disease activity. Quantitation of EBV DNA in serum may offer a simple means of monitoring patients at risk of EBV-associated lymphoproliferation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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