Other Known Aliases – Human gammaherpesvirus 4
Definition – double-stranded DNA herpes virus that infects B lymphocytes and epithelial cells and has both active replication and latency periods that can cause disease
Clinical Significance – known to the be the causative pathogen for infectious mononucleosis, it is also associated Burkitt’s lymphoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and other various other diseases and cancers. It is transmitted through oral transfer of saliva and genital secretions
History – Named after Sir Michael Anthony Epstein (1921-), a British pathologist who received his medical doctorate from Cambridge University, and Yvonne Barr (1932-2016), an Irish pathologist who received her PhD from the University of London in 1966. Upon hearing a lecture by Denis Burkitt in 1961 on a new endemic cancer in Africa, the former decided to change his career path to search for the cause of this cancer. After working for two years on tumor cells from this cancer, he, with the help of the later as a PhD student, finally isolated the virus cell lines and published their preliminary findings, with colleague Bert Achong, in the Lancet in 1964.
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