The purpose of this study was to delineate the spectrum of neurological diseases attributed to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) activity.
The approach was a retrospective study on patients with EBV activity proven by a positive EBV antibody-specific index (AI) and/or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) PCR.
106 children and adults (AI positive=77, AI+PCR positive = 3, PCR positive=26) were identified, most with reactivated infections.
• 28 showed typical EBV-related diseases (encephalitis, neuritis, meningitis),
• 19 further infections (HSV encephalitis, neuroborreliosis, HIV infection, bacterial meningitis),
• 9 immune-mediated disorders (multiple sclerosis, optic neuritis),
• And 50 further diseases not typical for EBV.
The highest AI values occurred in patients with encephalitis.
No relationship between disease category or AI values and viral loads was found.
Additional reanalysis of 1,500 consecutive CSF EBV PCR studies revealed the highest positive rates among patients with further infections (n=18/227, 7.9%) but lower rates among patients with typical EBV-related disorders (5/395; 1.3%), immune-mediated disorders (n=2/174; 1.1%) and other conditions (n=4/704; 0.6%).
Intrathecal EBV activity [in the spinal canal/brain] is not restricted to typical EBV-related disorders, unexpectedly frequent in further CNS infections, and also present in non-inflammatory conditions.
Prospective studies should assess the pathogenic role of EBV in these different diseases.
Source: European Journal of Microbiology and Infectious Disease, May 15, 2011. PMID: 21573818, Kleines M, Schiefer J, Stienen A, Blaum M, Ritter K, Häusler M. Division of Virology / Dept. of Medical Microbiology, University Hospital, Aachen, Germany. [Email: firstname.lastname@example.org]