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Am J Clin Pathol. 1990 Jun;93(6):776-83.

The spectrum of clinical and laboratory findings resulting from human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6) in patients with mononucleosis-like illnesses not resulting from Epstein-Barr virus or cytomegalovirus.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Metropolitan-Mount Sinai Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404.


Recently, the morphologic, immunologic, and molecular makeup of a new virus designated human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6) has been described. Because cell cultures of HHV-6-infected mononuclear cells showed prominent lymphocytic changes, it could be anticipated that mononucleosis-like illnesses or lymphoproliferative disorders would turn out to be manifestations of active HHV-6 infection. In the present study, blood samples from 27 patients previously categorized as having non-Epstein-Barr virus (non-EBV)/noncytomegalovirus (non-CMV) heterophil-negative mononucleosis-like illnesses were tested for IgM and IgG antibodies to HHV-6. Eight of these patients (30%) had serologic evidence of active HHV-6 infection. The clinical spectrum includes a short-lived febrile illness, mild cervical lymphadenopathy, laboratory data suggestive of active viral hepatitis in two patients, and a prolonged febrile illness in a single patient with previously documented positive anti-HIV serology. The viral studies revealed the presence of fourfold HHV-6-specific IgG titer increases by immunofluorescent assay (IFA) in seven serially studied cases and positive IgM serology on one or more samples tested by IFA or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in all eight cases. The authors could not determine whether the illnesses represented primary HHV-6 infections in susceptible individuals or reactivation of latent virus. HHV-6 serologic studies may be indicated in patients with mononucleosis-like illnesses with atypical lymphocytosis when EBV and CMV test results are nondiagnostic.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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