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Understanding Viral Load Assays for Cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr Virus



 

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Cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr Virus Background

Slide 2

March 2010

The 2 viruses I will be discussing today are both in the Herpesviridae family.

Cytomegalovirus, or CMV, is a virus that infects a majority of the population, and by adulthood, most people are seropositive for the virus, meaning that they have been infected by it in the past. The virus can infect many cell types, but usually targets lymphocytes and epithelial cells. This virus establishes and maintains a latent infection that can reactivate later in life. The disease manifestations for CMV are myriad, and include mononucleosis-like symptoms as well as tissue-specific disease, such as retinitis, pneumonia, and colitis.

Epstein-Barr Virus, or EBV, primarily infects B cells, and, like CMV, causes a latent infection that can also reactivate later in life. The vast majority of the population has been infected by this virus by adulthood, and so a large percentage are seropositive for this virus. The more common presentation for EBV infection is mononucleosis, but it can also cause Burkitt's lymphoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma, though these are far less common.

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