Serological Evidence for Long-Term Epstein-Barr Virus Reactivation in Children Living in a Holoendemic Malaria Region of Kenya

J Med Virol. 2009 Jun;81(6):1088-93. doi: 10.1002/jmv.21485.


To study the long term the effects of chronic exposure to P. falciparum malaria on Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) reactivation in children, EBV-specific antibody levels were measured in a cross-sectional survey of two groups of Kenyan children with divergent malaria exposure, varying in age from 1 to 14 years. A total of 169 children were analyzed within three age groups (1-4 years, 5-9 years and 10-14 years). Using a Luminex assay, elevated levels of IgG to EBV lytic and latent antigens were observed in children from the holoendemic malaria area; these remained elevated for each age group studied. In comparison, children from the sporadic malaria area had lower levels of EBV-specific IgG antibodies and these levels declined across age groups. These data suggest that chronic exposure to malaria may lead to long-term EBV reactivation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Antigens, Viral / immunology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / virology*
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / growth & development*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Infant
  • Kenya
  • Malaria / complications*
  • Virus Activation*


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Antigens, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin G