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Chronicity of Epstein-Barr Virus Infection

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Yale University School of Medicine; New Haven, Connecticut

Ann Intern Med. 1985;102(1):119-121. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-102-1-119
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Multiple lines of investigation using serologic, virologic, and immunologic techniques have solidly established that infectious mononucleosis results from a primary infection with Epstein-Barr virus (1-8). A fundamental property of this agent, a member of the herpesvirus group, is its tropism for B lymphocytes of the human host and its unique ability to induce continuous growth of lymphocytes in cell culture (immortalization) (9). In mononucleosis, a characteristic polyclonal B-cell proliferative response is induced.

One striking manifestation of lymphoproliferation in infectious mononucleosis is the presence of large numbers of atypical lymphocytes in peripheral blood. Relatively few lymphocytes are actually infected by Epstein-Barr


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