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Cytokine responses in a severe case of glandular fever treated successfully with foscarnet combined with prednisolone and intravenous immunoglobulin.

Viral loads and cytokine responses Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) were measured in an 18-year-old boy with severe glandular fever complicated by a mild anaemia, severe thrombocytopaenia and neutropaenia. Hepatosplenomegaly was detected by abdominal ultrasound in the presence of significant hepatitis. Cytokine testing demonstrated elevated cell-mediated Th1 (IFN-gamma, IL-12, sTNFR1, CXCL10, CXCL9 and CCL3) and humoral Th2 (IL-4) immune responses. Serum antibodies to EBV virus capsid antigen (VCA) IgM and IgG antibodies were detected, together with a raised EBV DNA level (up to about 70,000 DNA copies/mL) in the acute phase of the illness. This EBV DNA load decreased rapidly in response to treatment with a combination of foscarnet, intravenous immunoglobulin and prednisolone, and the boy's symptoms settled eventually after approximately 50 days of illness, following this combined antiviral and immune-modulating therapy. Detailed immunological, virological, haematological and biochemical laboratory parameters are presented to document this patient's severe EBV disease and eventual recovery.

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