Epstein–Barr Virus Detection in the Central Nervous System of HIV-Infected Patients

Kalo Musukuma-Chifulo*, Omar Khalik Siddiqi, Obvious Nchimunya Chilyabanyama, Matthew Bates, Caroline Cleopatra Chisenga, Michelo Simuyandi, Edford Sinkala, Xin Dang, Igor Jerome Koralnik, Roma Chilengi, Sody Munsaka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Simply detecting Epstein–Barr virus deoxyribonucleic acid (EBV-DNA) is insufficient to diagnose EBV-associated diseases. The current literature around EBV-DNA detection from cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive non-lymphoma patients was systematically reviewed and a meta-analysis reporting the estimated pooled prevalence in this population when PCR methods are employed, targeting different sequence segments within the EBV genome, was conducted. Using a combination of three key concepts—Epstein–Barr virus detection, central nervous system disease, and human cerebrospinal fluid—and their MeSH terms, the PubMed database was searched. A total of 273 papers reporting the detection of EBV in CNS were screened, of which 13 met the inclusion criteria. The meta-analysis revealed a pooled prevalence of EBV-DNA in CSF of 20% (CI: 12–31%). The highest pooled prevalence was from studies conducted on the African population at 39% (CI: 27–51%). The investigation of the presence of EBV-DNA in the CSF was also very varied, with several gene targets used. While most patients from the articles included in this review and meta-analysis were symptomatic of CNS disorders, the pathogenicity of EBV in non-lymphoma HIV patients when detected in CSF has still not been determined. The presence of EBV-DNA in the CNS remains a concern, and further research is warranted to understand its significance in causing CNS disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1080
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • Epstein–Barr virus (EBV)
  • central nervous system (CNS)
  • cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
  • human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • polymerase chain reaction (PCR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Molecular Biology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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