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Clinical Observation
April 8, 2002

Epstein-Barr Viral Load Assessment in Immunocompetent Patients With Fulminant Infectious Mononucleosis

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Internal Medicine (Drs van Laar and Deinum), Pediatrics (Drs Buysse and Hjálmarsson), Virology (Dr Vossen), Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine (Dr van den Berg), and Hematology (Dr van Lom), University Hospital Rotterdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Arch Intern Med. 2002;162(7):837-839. doi:10.1001/archinte.162.7.837

We describe 2 immunocompetent adolescents with fulminant infectious mononucleosis and virus-associated hemophagocytosis. A new quantitative polymerase chain reaction revealed high serum Epstein-Barr virus DNA levels in these patients. One patient died with an increasing viral load not responding to corticosteroids followed by antiviral and intensified immunomodulatory treatment. The other patient received corticosteroids and acyclovir at diagnosis; her rapid recovery was heralded by a steep decline of viral load. We propose monitoring the clinical course of fulminant infectious mononucleosis in immunocompetent patients by Epstein-Barr virus DNA quantification and prompt corticosteroid and antiviral therapy when viral load is high.

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