Epstein-Barr virus infection-associated hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis


Internal Medicine, Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center


Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a rare and life-threatening syndrome characterized by uncontrolled immune activation. There is an aberrant activation of lym-phocytes and macrophages that results in hypercytokinemia. We aim to describe a case of secondary HLH due to primary Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection. A Hispanic 28-year-old man presented with sore throat and fatigue for one week. He was diagnosed with mononucleosis and discharged and was treated according to the currently available treatment. HLH is treated by diminishing the inflammation by myelosuppressive and immunosuppressive therapy. EBV infection-associated HLH is a rare disease with high mortality. It is crucial to think about it when facing a patient with fever, cytopenia, hepatosplenomegaly, and high levels of ferritin. Despite medical treatment, the patient died from multiorgan failure.

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