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Papers of the Week

2022 Oct




Epstein-Barr Virus Hepatitis Masquerading as Painless Jaundice.


Adelodun A, Abdellatief A, Babajide O
Cureus. 2022 Oct; 14(10):e30333.
PMID: 36407142.


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection typically presents with pharyngeal symptoms and subclinical transaminitis. We present a case of a 27-year-old woman with no known past medical history who presented with painless jaundice and dark-colored urine for three days. Her review of systems was negative for fever, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, pruritus, or rash. Her last sexual contact was six months ago with a male partner, and she only drank alcohol socially. Family and surgical history were non-significant. Physical examination revealed 3+ bilateral conjunctival icterus without abdominal tenderness or organomegaly. She had elevated transaminases: alanine transaminase (ALT) of 1287U/L and aspartate aminotransferase of (AST) 1057U/L but her alkaline phosphatase (ALP) was only slightly above normal at 109U/L (normal range 35-104U/L), with a direct hyperbilirubinemia – total bilirubin 9.5mg/dl, direct bilirubin 6.8mg/dl; the abdominal ultrasound revealed non-dilated bile ducts. Hepatitis A, B, and C serology was negative, but her EBV serology showed an infection. She had incidental thalassemia minor without splenomegaly or asterixis. She was managed conservatively, and her liver enzymes trended down with supportive management. Although EBV is an uncommon cause of painless jaundice, this diagnosis should be considered, especially when other more common causes of jaundice have been ruled out. A high index of suspicion should be maintained to detect EBV hepatitis as it can easily be diagnosed through serological testing.