Since the initial report of unusual manifestations possibly associated with chronic active Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection (CAEBV), nearly three decades have passed. During this period, reported cases with this entity have dramatically increased in the world. Additionally, recent development of diagnostic procedures, including molecular biological and immunological techniques, have provided us with the ability to define certain diseases, especially malignant disorders. Guidelines, derived mainly from the current literature and recent experiences with CAEBV in Japan, for diagnosing CAEBV are proposed to clarify this enigmatic disease. Am. J. Hematol. 80:64–69, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.