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Ann Intern Med. 1985 Jan;102(1):7-16.

Persisting illness and fatigue in adults with evidence of Epstein-Barr virus infection.


Clinical, serologic, virologic, and immunologic evaluations for 31 adults with chronic illness and fatigue suggested that 23 had persisting Epstein-Barr virus infection. Among these 23 patients, cellular immune mechanisms were generally normal, but 4 had mild immunoglobulin deficiencies. However, 20 patients had abnormal serologic profiles specific for Epstein-Barr virus shown by significantly elevated titers of antibodies to the viral capsid antigen or early antigen, or by a deficiency of late-appearing antibodies. In 11 of 15 patients tested, circulating immune complexes were found. Circulating interferon was not found in 18 patients tested, but the activity of 2-5 oligoadenylate synthetase, an interferon-induced enzyme, was increased in 5 patients studied. Of 19 patients, 18 had persisting suppressor T-cell activity typically found in patients recovering from acute infectious mononucleosis. We believe that the Epstein-Barr virus may be associated with chronic illness in adults.

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