Epstein-Barr virus and the elderly host.
The ability of the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) to cause latent lifelong infection in the host and its capabilities of transformation may have important implications for the elderly host. Reports in the literature and hospital records were reviewed to determine the activity of EBV in the elderly. Seroepidemiologic surveys demonstrated that 90%-97% of adults more than 60 years old were seropositive for EBV. Geometric mean antibody titers and the percentage of individuals with high antibody titers to EBV increased with age--changes that were not associated with clinical illness. Only 29 cases of infectious mononucleosis have been reported in adults more than 60 years old. The elderly with infectious mononucleosis had significantly fewer occurrences of pharyngitis, lymphadenopathy, and splenomegaly when compared with young adults. The cases of two patients with illnesses that did not meet full criteria for infectious mononucleosis but may still have represented clinical manifestations of EBV infection are presented. Other EBV-associated diseases reported in the elderly include nasopharyngeal carcinoma and possibly B cell lymphoproliferative disease but not a chronic mononucleosis-like syndrome.
Schmader, KE; van der Horst, CM; Klotman, ME
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