Epstein-Barr virus detection in the central nervous system of HIV-infected patients


Simply detecting Epstein-Barr virus deoxyribonucleic acid (EBV-DNA) is insufficient to diagnose EBV-associated diseases. The current literature around EBV-DNA detection from cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive non-lymphoma patients was systematically reviewed and a meta-analysis reporting the estimated pooled prevalence in this population when PCR methods are employed, targeting different sequence segments within the EBV genome, was conducted. Using a combination of three key concepts-Epstein-Barr virus detection, central nervous system disease, and human cerebrospinal fluid-and their MeSH terms, the PubMed database was searched. A total of 273 papers reporting the detection of EBV in CNS were screened, of which 13 met the inclusion criteria. The meta-analysis revealed a pooled prevalence of EBV-DNA in CSF of 20% (CI: 12-31%). The highest pooled prevalence was from studies conducted on the African population at 39% (CI: 27–51%). The investigation of the presence of EBV-DNA in the CSF was also very varied, with several gene targets used. While most patients from the articles included in this review and meta-analysis were symptomatic of CNS disorders, the pathogenicity of EBV in non-lymphoma HIV patients when detected in CSF has still not been determined. The presence of EBV-DNA in the CNS remains a concern, and further research is warranted to understand its significance in causing CNS disorders.


Musukuma-Chifulo K, Siddiqi OK, Chilyabanyama ON, Bates M, Chisenga CC, Simuyandi M, Sinkala E, Dang X, Koralnik IJ, Chilengi R, Munsaka S




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Epidemiology
  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Mental Health
    • Neurocognitive disorders
  • Co-infections
    • Other


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