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Review
, 118 (1), 45-58

NIH Conference. Epstein-Barr Virus Infections: Biology, Pathogenesis, and Management

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Review

NIH Conference. Epstein-Barr Virus Infections: Biology, Pathogenesis, and Management

S E Straus et al. Ann Intern Med.

Abstract

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) encodes genes that ensure its persistence in human B lymphocytes. Some of the genes encourage B-cell proliferation; others are poised to evade or defeat immune recognition. Immune restraints on the virus, however, are typically so effective that most infections are never symptomatic. In contrast, acute infectious mononucleosis, a self-limited lymphoproliferative illness, is common in adolescents and young adults. Unbridled proliferative illnesses arise when cellular immunity is grossly defective. Treatment of EBV-associated syndromes is largely supportive. Antiviral drugs have no proven role except in patients with oral hairy leukoplakia. Vaccine development is technically feasible but is not considered a high priority for developed nations.

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