Center for Human Genetics and Laboratory Diagnostics, Dr. Klein, Dr. Rost and Colleagues

Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)

Dr. med. Hartmut Campe, Dr. med. Hanns-Georg Klein

Scientific Background

The DNA virus Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a member of the Herpes virus family and the causative agent of infectious mononucleosis (glandular fever). Typical symptoms are raised temperature, tiredness, lymph node swelling, usually in the neck, and sore throat (angina). In young patients, suspected EBV infection is an important differential diagnosis for hematological diseases. The virus infects B-lymphocytes and persists for life. The degree of EBV infection in the population is very high (>98%), although symptomatic manifestations are not common. Viral reactivation is possible, but is also usually unnoticeable in patients with a healthy immune system.

EBV is an oncogenic virus. It is associated with Burkitt lymphoma, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and particularly in immunocompromised patients (AIDS patients, transplant recipients) with progressive, polyclonal lymphoproliferative B-cell tumors.

Evidence of a new EBV infection, that is, mononucleosis / infectious mononucleosis is provided serologically.