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Epstein Barr Virus

Abbreviation: EBV
German: Epstein-Barr-Virus

1 Definition

The Epstein Barr virus is a pathogen that can cause the development of infectious mononucleosis. It is a DNA virus belonging to the family ofherpes viruses and is also referred to as HHV 4 (human herpes virus 4). It was named after its discoverers Michael Epstein and Yvonne Barr.

2 Epidemiology

The virus can be found worldwide. Humans are the sole pathogen reservoir. The most common path of transmission for EBV is through smear infection or droplet infection. It can give rise to the infectious mononucleosis which is also often referred to as kissing disease. Subsequently the level of endemic infection is quite high: 95-98% of all people above the age of forty have experienced an infection with EBV. The disease peak happens during childhood and adolescence.

3 Virulence

The pathogen is normally kept in check by the human immune system unless it is compromised. However, the Epstein-Barr virus enters the B cells of the immune system. Within these cells, the virus production can be inactive and also the virus can hide from the immune response, giving rise to a latent infection (lysogenic cycle). In case of severe immunosuppression (i.e. AIDS), the virus is reactivated and starts to replicate uncontrollably. This can become the trigger for rare forms of cancer (i.e. Burkitt’s lymphoma).

vi sono forme latenti di infezione da EBvirus che non sono associate a Aids ma ad un mancato riconoscimento dell antigene virale in questi casi gli anticorpi non sono presenti ma si può osservare epatosplenomegalia e aumento delle transaminasi. sapete dirmi qualcosa di più su queste forme? vi è una maggior incidenza del linfoma di Burkitt in questi casi?
#1 17 days ago from RAFFAELLA MARRA (Physician)

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