Severe Epstein-Barr virus-associated hemophagocytic syndrome in six adult patients

Anat Scheiman Elazary*, Dana G. Wolf, Gail Amir, Batia Avni, Deborah Rund, Dina Ben Yehuda, Sigal Sviri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background: EBV associated hemophagocytic syndrome (HPS) is an aggressive and potentially life-threatening condition. So far, most EBV associated HPS has been characterized mainly in infants and children in Asian countries. Results: Here, we report six cases of EBV associated HPS occurring in previously healthy adults in a non-endemic area within a short period of 3 years. All patients presented with fever, hepatosplenomegaly and pancytopenia as well as disturbed liver function tests and coagulopathy. Half were diagnosed as having lymphoma. While EBV-specific serological assays were non-diagnostic in four of the six patients, the presence of EBV DNA in plasma allowed the diagnosis of EBV associated HPS in all patients. Conclusion: EBV associated HPS may be more prevalent in non-Japanese adults than was previously considered. Screening for hemophagocytic syndrome, in adults as well as in children, should include real-time PCR for EBV.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)156-159
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Virology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Adults
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Hemophagocytosis


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