Chronic active Epstein–Barr virus (CAEBV) disease is a rare condition characterised by persistent EBV infection in previously healthy individuals. Defective EBV genomes were found in East Asian patients with CAEBV. In the present study, we sequenced 14 blood EBV samples from three UK patients with CAEBV, comparing the results with saliva CAEBV samples and other conditions. We observed EBV deletions in blood, some of which may disrupt viral replication, but not saliva in CAEBV. Deletions were lost overtime after successful treatment. These findings are compatible with CAEBV being associated with the evolution and persistence of EBV+ haematological clones that are lost on successful treatment.
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