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 to humans, or is it an opportunistic infection that appears and spikes to high levels in those with a weakened immune system, or do chronic Lyme disease patients just have really bad luck?

More high quality research studies are needed to find answers to these important questions!

Testing for Epstein Barr



Research Articles

CDC article on Epstein Barr Virus


Mosquito bites, fluid-filled little blisters and Epstein Barr Virus.

J Dermatol Sci. 2016 Mar 5. pii: S0923-1811(16)30023-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jdermsci.2016.03.001. [Epub ahead of print]


Epstein-Barr virus reactivation is induced, but abortive, in cutaneous lesions of systemic hydroa vacciniforme and hypersensitivity to mosquito bites.

Yamamoto T1, Hirai Y2, Miyake T2, Hamada T2, Yamasaki O2, Morizane S2, Fujimoto W3, Iwatsuki K4.

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-associated T/natural killer (NK)-lymphoproliferative disorders (LPDs) include hydroa vacciniforme (HV) and hypersensitivity to mosquito bites (HMB). The pathomechanisms of these diseases are still unclear.

[Hydro vaccinforme info & pictures here- http://www.dermnetnz.org/reactions/hydroa-vacciniforme.html ]

To understand the inflammatory process, we examined EBV reactivation markers, BZLF1 and BDRF1 mRNA in the tissue and blood from patients with EBV-associated T/NK-LPDs.

Sixty-four patients with EBV-associated LPDs and epithelial neoplasms, and EBV+ cell line cells were studied. DNase-treated and resistant EBV DNA load in blood and cell culture supernatants were calculated. An EBV reactivation signal was analyzed in the tissue, blood and cell line cells.

In the tissue, BZLF1 mRNA was detected in 5 of 6 (83%) samples of EBV+ epithelial neoplasms, 16 of 21 (76%) of EBV+ lymphomas, and 5 of 15 (33%) of systemic HV and/or HMB, but negative in all 15 patients with classical HV.

In the blood, BZLF1 mRNA was detected in only one of 19 (5.3%) samples of EBV-associated T/NK-LPDs.

A down-stream reactivation signal, BDRF1 mRNA was expressed in all 6 samples of EBV+ epithelial neoplasms, but it was positive in only one of 15 (6.7%) samples from systemic HV and HMB in the tissue. EBV+ T/NK-cell line cells treated with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate produced BZLF1 and BDRF1 mRNA, and encapsidated EBV DNA was detected in the culture supernatants of cell line cells.

Stimulation-induced EBV reactivation occurred both in vivo and in vitro, but it was almost abortive in vivo. Reactivation-related EBV antigens might be responsible for induction of systemic HV and HMB.

Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Link- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27039668


Med Hypotheses. 2007;69(1):117-9. Epub 2007 Jan 2.

Lyme borreliosis and multiple sclerosis are associated with primary effusion lymphoma.

Batinac T, Petranovic D, Zamolo G, Petranovic D, Ruzic A.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease of the central nervous system characterized by chronic inflammation and demyelination. Studies suggested that the viral, especially Epstein-Barr virus infection, and bacterial infections, especially Borrelia burgdorferi infection, play a role in etiology of MS. MS prevalence parallels the distribution of the Lyme disease pathogen B. burgdorferi.

Criteria used for diagnosis of MS can also be fulfilled in other conditions such as Lyme disease, a multisystem disorder resulting from infection by the tick-borne spirochete, B. burgdorferi. In the late period of Lyme disease demyelinating involvement of central nervous system can develop and MS can be erroneously diagnosed.

A Lyme borreliosis can mimick central nervous system lymphoma. Also, B. burgdorferi has been implicated not only in etiology of MS, but also in etiology of lymphoma. Studies suggested that there is an increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in patients, who had a history of autoimmune diseases such as MS and that both non-Hodgkin's lymphomas and Hodgkin's disease were associated with Epstein-Barr virus infection.

A small group of lymphomas called primary effusion lymphomas (PEL) is a recently individualized form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (WHO classification) that exhibit exclusive or dominant involvement of serous cavities, without a detectable solid tumor mass.

These lymphomas have also been linked to Epstein-Barr virus and human herpes virus type 8 infections but virus negative cases have been described. Therefore, we propose that MS and neuroborreliosis are linked to central nervous system primary effusion lymphomas. As a first step in confirming or refuting our hypotheses, we suggest a thorough study of CSF in the patients suspected for the diagnosis of MS and Lyme borreliosis.


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.

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.

Epstein Barr & Cancer

Oncol Rep. 2014 Sep 10. doi: 10.3892/or.2014.3475. [Epub ahead of print]

Significant role of macrophages in human cancers associated with Epstein-Barr virus (Review).

Shimakage M.

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a ubiquitous pathogen that was first identified as a human cancer virus. Many human cancers are associated with EBV, and we demonstrated that EBV infects macrophages. Macrophages infected with EBV show a close correlation with many human cancers, and thus more attention must be given to the role of macrophages infiltrating into cancer tissues associated with EBV. In this review, I discuss the role of macrophages in the process of EBV-associated oncogenesis with regard to interleukin-10.

Last Updated- April 2019

Lucy Barnes