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  • 1 Croatian National Institute of Public Health and School of Medicine University of Zagreb Department of Virology Zagreb Croatia
  • 2 University of Applied Health Studies Ljiljana Kos, BSc Zagreb Croatia
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There is a high degree of variability in the serologic response to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection, especially in viral capsid antigen (VCA)-IgM antibodies. Therefore, additional tests are needed to confirm primary infection.We evaluated the value of IgG avidity determination in diagnosis of EBV infection in immunocompetent and immunocompromised patients.A total of 236 serum samples from immunocompetent patients with symptoms suggestive of EBV infection were tested for the presence of VCA-IgM/IgG antibodies and IgG avidity. Using IgG avidity, acute primary infection was confirmed in 56.7% of the immunocompetent patients with positive and in 1.8% of patients with negative VCA-IgM. Recent primary infection was documented in 8.9% of the IgM positive and 3.5% of the IgM negative patients. In patients with indeterminate serology (equivocal IgM), 6.7% were classified by avidity index (AI) as acute primary infection, 10.0% as post-acute and 83.3% as past infection cases.Concerning the 32 immunocompromised patients, recent primary infection was documented in 3 of the 14 IgM positive patients. High AI was detected in 11 of these patients, indicating an IgM response due to reactivation.Determination of IgG avidity in combination with classical serologic markers seems to be a reliable method to confirm primary infection both in immunocompetent and immunocompromised patients. It may be especially useful to differentiate cases of primary infection in patients with undetectable VCA-IgM antibodies or indeterminate routine EBV serology.

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