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Rev Neurol Dis. 2004 Summer;1(3):115-23.

Does epstein-barr virus cause multiple sclerosis?

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Department of Neurology and Neurosciences, New Jersey Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, NJ, USA.


The etiology of multiple sclerosis (MS) remains unknown; however, both genetic and environmental influences undoubtedly are involved. In terms of the environment, infectious agents and random factors seem likely and there is growing evidence that MS may sometimes occur as an uncommon complication of an infection by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Support for this concept, including epidemiologic considerations, persistent infection of B lymphocytes, known neurologic complications of EBV infection, serologic studies, and attempts at genome identification are reviewed. These data are consistent with EBV being a leading candidate agent in MS causation, but the evidence is not considered definitive at this time.

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