Chronic Epstein-Barr Virus Infection: A Cause of Granulomatous Hepatitis?

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A 37-year-old man had fever, weight loss, malaise, right upper quadrant pain, lymphadenopathy, and a twofold elevation of serum alkaline phosphatase, transaminases, and gamma glutamyl transpeptidase. Granulomas were found on liver biopsy after 2 1/2 months of illness. Treatment with isoniazid and rifampin for 2 months did not lead to improvement in fever or symptoms, but prednisone caused a prompt resolution. Positive IgM antibodies to the viral capsule antigen followed by marked elevation of the IgG fraction suggest chronic Epstein-Barr virus infection to be the etiology. The patient was asymptomatic without treatment 14 months after onset of the illness.

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