Persistent Epstein-Barr virus infection and pregnancy

J Infect Dis. 1983 Jun;147(6):982-6. doi: 10.1093/infdis/147.6.982.


Women seropositive for Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) were studied during pregnancy for reactivation of latent, persistent infection. Individual women usually (94%) maintained constant titers of antibodies to EBV-specific antigens, including viral capsid antigen, early antigen, and EBV-associated nuclear antigen. The geometric mean titer of the EBV-specific antibodies was constant throughout gestation. Pregnant women did, however, differ from control subjects in that they significantly more often had antibodies to early antigen (anti-EA) (55% vs. 22%-32%). Infants born to women with anti-EA had the same incidence of low birth weight, congenital anomalies, and neonatal jaundice as did the offspring of women without anti-EA. Within the limitations of the sample, our data suggest that reactivation of latent, persistent EBV infection occurs early during gestation but that this reactivation does not adversely affect the fetus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology
  • Congenital Abnormalities / etiology
  • Female
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human* / immunology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / microbiology
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / microbiology*
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Third


  • Antibodies, Viral