CASE REPORTS
JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
RESEARCH SUPPORT, U.S. GOV'T, P.H.S.
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Clinical and laboratory evaluation of cytomegalovirus-induced mononucleosis in previously healthy individuals. Report of 82 cases.

The present report describes the clinical and laboratory profile of 82 previously healthy individuals who developed cytomegalovirus (CMV)-induced mononucleosis. Many of these patients posed initial diagnostic problems and were hospitalized with diagnoses such as fever of undetermined origin, active viral hepatitis, acute leukemia, probable systemic lupus erythematosus, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, and severe pancytopenia. These patients underwent a variety of diagnostic biopsies, including liver biopsies (6) and bone marrow aspirations (9). Four patients had exploratory laparotomies, 1 for a ruptured spleen, and another had a splenectomy following an erroneous initial diagnosis of agnogenic myeloid metaplasia. There was no apparent clinical response to a short course of steroid therapy in 3 of 5 cases and acyclovir in another. The vast majority of these patients demonstrated infectious mononucleosis-type reactive blood smears, negative heterophil antibody studies, mildly or moderately elevated aspartate aminotransferase activity, and evidence for subclinical hemolysis on serial specimens. The peak serum bilirubin levels were above 2.0 mg/dl in only 2 of 71 cases tested, both of the latter patients having significant hemolysis (hemoglobin values 8.6-9.3 g/dl). The CMV-IgM test had a high sensitivity for detection of CMV macroglobulins (positive in 81 of 82 cases). In contrast, complement-fixing antibodies to CMV showed diagnostic four-fold titer changes in only 39/82 cases (47.6%). Despite its great sensitivity, the CMV-IgM test is limited by a one-way crossreaction of acute Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-IM sera and spurious positive reactions in some sera due to the presence of rheumatoid factors. Based on EBV-specific serologic studies, the 82 patients with CMV-IM could be divided into 4 groups: 3 patients without antibodies to EBV; 2) 69 patients with uncomplicated serologic data indicative of long-past EBV infections; (3) 6 patients with unusual antibody profiles, e.g., anti-D responses; and (4) 5 patients, including 1 originally susceptible to EBV, with apparent dual CMV/EBV infections. At the conclusion of our study, final diagnoses and initial hematologic data were correlated in 750 cases in which CMV macroglobulins were searched for. The vast majority of patients with active CMV infections initially demonstrated either markedly or moderately reactive peripheral blood smears. These data support our impression that diagnostic tests for CMV, as well as for EBV, are seldom indicated in symptomatic previously healthy patients whose blood smears during the acute phase (first several weeks) of their illnesses are either nonreactive or minimally reactive.

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