Epstein Barr Virus


A large number of chronically ill Lyme patients have positive (often highly positive) Epstein Barr virus serology. Do ticks pass on the virus, or is it an opportunistic infection that appears and spikes to high levels in those with a weakened immune system or do these patients just have really bad luck? More research and studies are needed to find answers to these questions.

Folia Biol (Praha). 2003;49(1):40-8.

Interaction of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato with Epstein-Barr virus in lymphoblastoid cells.

Hulínská D, Roubalová K, Schramlová J.

National Reference Laboratory on Borreliosis, Electron Microscopy, National Institute of Public Health, Prague, Czech Republic.


Since the possibility of interruption of latent EBV infection has been suggested by the induction of the lytic virus cycle with chemical substances, other viruses, and by immunosuppression, we hypothesized that the same effect might happen in B. burgdorferi sensu lato infection as happens in Lyme disease patients with positive serology for both agents. We have observed EBV replication in lymphoblastoid cells after superinfection with B. garinii and B. afzelii strains after 1 and 4 h of their interaction. We found that viral and borrelial antigens persisted in the lymphoblasts for 3 and 4 days. Morphological and functional transformation of both agents facilitate their transfer to daughter cells. Association with lymphoblasts and internalization of B. garinii by tube phagocytosis increased replication of viruses more successfully than B. afzelii and chemical inductors. Demonstration of such findings must be interpreted cautiously, but may prove a mixed borrelial and viral cause of severe neurological disease.

PMID: 12630667 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]