Chapter 4 : Epstein-Barr Virus and Human Herpesvirus 8

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Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) or human herpesvirus 4 (HHV-4) and Kaposi's sarcoma-associated virus (KSHV or HHV-8) are distantly related gammaherpesviruses, both of which have associations with cancer in humans. Developments in nucleic acid detection techniques have brought new diagnostic capabilities to bear, revealing new associations and activities of these viruses in the setting of immunosuppression. In this chapter, the authors review these disease associations and the techniques that are currently being used to diagnose EBV and KSHV infections. Therefore, diagnostic approaches to EBV infection rely mainly on detecting serologic responses to classical EBV antigens and more recently, on nucleic acid amplification and quantitation techniques. EBV serology is based on detecting humoral responses to the following three classes of antigen: viral capsid antigen (VCA), early antigen (EA), and Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen (EBNA). The major concern with using detection of viral DNA as a marker of viral infection is an apparent lack of sensitivity and indecision on which tissue type is best suited for detection of viral DNA. In summary, serological assays are the best method for determining HHV-8 infection, and assays designed to detect lytic cycle proteins, especially lytic immunofluorescence assays (IFAs), are the most sensitive assays currently available.

Citation: Rowe D, Jenkins F, Hensler H. 2009. Epstein-Barr Virus and Human Herpesvirus 8, p 91-111. In Hayden R, Carroll K, Tang Y, Wolk D (ed), Diagnostic Microbiology of the Immunocompromised Host. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815455.ch4
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