Acute hepatitis E infection associated with a false-positive serology against Epstein-Barr virus

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2009 Dec;21(12):1433-5. doi: 10.1097/MEG.0b013e32832f5be4.


Hepatitis E virus is a major cause of acute viral hepatitis. The diagnosis of acute viral hepatitis E is based essentially on antibodies and hepatitis E virus RNA. We describe herein a case of acute hepatitis E associated with a false-positive serology for Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). This case report suggests that anti-viral capsid antigen IgM must be interpreted with caution in acute E hepatitis. When positive, EBV RNA polymerase chain reaction can be useful as a false positivity of anti-viral capsid antigen IgM and can be misinterpreted as an acute infection. EBV false positivity was probably related to polyclonal stimulation of the immune system, favoured by hepatitis E.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / diagnosis*
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Hepatitis E / diagnosis*
  • Hepatitis E virus / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin M / blood
  • Male
  • Travel


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin M