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Epstein–Barr virus associated with immune thrombocytopenic purpura in childhood: A retrospective study


  • C-C Hsiao, MD, Assistant Professor.

Correspondence: DrChih-ChengHsiao 2728 W22nd Avenue, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6L 1M4. Email:


Objective: Although Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) is known to cause immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), the epidemiology of this pathogen in children with ITP is not known. In the present study, the clinicoepidemiology and laboratory characteristics of EBV-associated ITP in childhood were analysed retrospectively.

Methods: The study cohort consisted of 108 children in whom ITP was diagnosed between 1990 and 1998. Patients were divided into EBV or non-EBV groups according to their serological status at diagnosis.

Results: Thirty-five (32.4%) of 108 children had ITP associated with acute EBV infection. The clinical manifestations and laboratory data were similar in children with and without acute EBV. Responses to various modalities of therapy were analysed. The average time to achieve complete remission (platelet count ≥ 150 × 109/L) in EBV and non-EBV groups was 26 and 16 days, respectively.

Conclusions: The incidence of childhood ITP associated with acute EBV infection is relatively high in Taiwan. Patients with EBV-associated ITP tended to resolve more slowly than those without EBV infection.