Pediatric Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) occurring in developing regions is different from HL in industrialized countries due to the higher frequency of association with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection. This infection is related to classical HL (cHL) but is virtually absent in nodular lymphocyte predominant HL (nLPHL). We studied the phenotype and the expression of EBV gene products in 90 pediatric cases by immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization. EBV-positive tumor cells were found exclusively in cHL. The infection occurred with high frequency in all cHL subtypes, but it predominated in the mixed cellularity and lymphocyte depletion subtypes. These results reinforce the hypothesis that EBV plays a major role in the etiology of pediatric cHL in developing areas. Curiously, the frequency of EBV infection in HL was identical to the previously described for Burkitt's lymphoma in the same pediatric population. As both lymphomas have a postulated precursor cell in the germinal center (GC), the pattern of latently EBV-infected GC cells previously described in Bahia may be related to the development of these lymphomas.