Protracted mononucleosis-like illness associated with acquired cytomegalovirus infection in a previously healthy child: Transient cellular immune defects and chronic hepatopathy

G. S. Marshall, S. E. Starr, C. L. Witzleben, E. Gonczol, S. A. Plotkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


Ordinarily, severe disease due to acquired cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection does not occur in immunocompetent children. We describe a previously healthy boy who acquired primary CMV infection at approximately 2 years of age and experienced a 2-year-long debilitating multisystem illness from which he ultimately recovered. Clinical features of this illness included fatigue, poor weight gain, pallor, unexplained fever, musculoskeletal complaints, drenching night sweats, lymphadenopathy, and massive hepatosplenomegaly. Laboratory abnormalities included elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate, lymphocytosis, and elevated immune complex levels. Cellular immune function was impaired during the illness but was demonstrably normal during convalescence, and there was no other evidence for a known immunodeficiency state. Immunoblot analysis showed enhanced antibody response to a 66-kd infected cell protein after symptomatic recovery. Despite consistently normal indices of hepatic function, liver enlargement persisted after other symptoms had resolved. Liver biopsy demonstrated a mononuclear cell portal tract infiltrate with fibrosis, but CMV could not be demonstrated directly in this tissue. Primary CMV infection has not been reported previously to cause the persistent symptoms seen in this child.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)556-562
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1991



  • cellular immunity
  • cytomegalovirus
  • infectious mononucleosis
  • protein-specific antibody response
  • viral hepatitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

Cite this