Chronic Active Epstein-Barr Virus (CAEBV)
What is chronic active Epstein-Barr virus (CAEBV)?
Chronic active Epstein-Barr virus infection (CAEBV) is a rare disease that begins as a standard case of Epstein-Barr virus (EPV) infection. EPV is one of the most common viruses in humans and can cause mono and other illnesses. It is usually translated through bodily fluids, especially saliva. However, most people infected with EBV won’t develop any health problems. Only a small amount of people with EPV develop CAEBV.
In this infection, the body makes too many lymphocytes, a particular type of white blood cell, for a period of time longer than six months. Lymphocytes are important because they help the immune system fight off diseases and prevent infection by producing antibodies that fight viruses and bacteria. Many antibodies made to fight EBV in the blood is a major characteristic of this disease.
This disease affects men and women equally, and occurs more frequently in Asia and South America.
What are the symptoms of CAEBV?
Not every patient will necessarily have every symptom listed below. Symptoms include:
- Enlarged spleen
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Liver dysfunction
- Hypersensitivity to mosquito bites
- Oral ulcers
- Hemophagocytic syndrome
- Coronary artery aneurysms
- Interstitial pneumonia
- Liver failure
What causes CAEBV?
After an EBV infection, the virus stays, inactive, in the body. In some cases, the virus may reactivate. While that doesn’t always cause symptoms, people with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop symptoms. The immune system can be weakened by other diseases or certain medications.
The exact cause of CAEBV is currently unknown, but some researchers believe that defects identified in some T-cells and NK cells result in a lowered defense against the EBV virus in people with CAEBV.
How is CAEBV diagnosed?
CAEBV can be diagnosed once symptoms have been persisting for more than six months. Blood tests that reveal a low number of platelets and high number of EBV-DNA load in the blood can confirm a diagnosis.
What are the treatments for CAEBV?
There is no current specific treatment or vaccine for CAEBV. Most treatment will focus on lessening symptoms. Some studies indicate that hematopoietic stem cell transplantation may be helpful in treatment for this disease.
Where can I find out more about CAEBV?