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Chronic high Epstein-Barr viral load carriage in pediatric liver transplant recipients


Michael Green, Division of Infectious Diseases, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, 3705 5th Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA
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Abstract:  Development of EBV disease and PTLD is usually accompanied by the detection of a high EBV load in peripheral blood. However, many children undergoing primary EBV infection following LTx will maintain chronically elevated EBV loads in the absence of clinical symptoms. To better understand this phenomenon, we retrospectively reviewed the records of children undergoing LTx at our center from 1997 to 2007 to identify chronic high EBV load carriers in this population. A CHL state was defined by the presence of a high load for >50% of samples for greater than or equal to six months following either asymptomatic or complete clinical resolution of EBV disease/PTLD. A total of 35 CHL carriers were identified. Pretransplant serologies were available for 29 of the 35; 22/29 (76%) were EBV negative prior to LTx; eight of these 22 developed their CHL state at the time of their primary EBV infection. Fourteen of the 35 had EBV disease (n = 7) or PTLD (n = 7) prior to development of the CHL state. Only one of 35 CHL carriers developed PTLD or lymphoma while they were a high load carrier. In all, 23/35 resolved their CHL state without apparent sequelae while 11 children continue to be asymptomatic high load carriers. These data provide important information about the outcome of chronic EBV high load carriage in pediatric liver transplant recipients.