Epstein-Barr virus-associated cholestatic hepatitis

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Epstein-Barr virus infection is common in children, usually presenting as infectious mononucleosis, including fever, tonsillitis and lymphadenopathy associated with self-resolving increase in transaminases. Cholestasis is rare in children with only a few cases reported but it was described in up to 55% of the adult population affected. We present a case of a 6-year-old boy with fever, vomiting and choluria. The physical examination showed hepatomegaly and jaundice and was otherwise unremarkable. The laboratory studies revealed increased transaminases (aspartate aminotransferase 97 U/L, alanine aminotransferase 166 U/L), hyperbilirubinaemia (total bilirubin 3.2 mg/dL, direct bilirubin 2.89 mg/dL) and increased γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (114 mg/dL). Urine urobilinogen was increased. The abdominal ultrasound showed hepatomegaly. Epstein-Barr viral capsid antibody IgM was positive and IgG was negative. Serological studies for other viruses were negative. We underline the need to consider Epstein-Barr virus in the cholestatic hepatitis differential diagnosis, in order to avoid unnecessary investigations.

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