A 73-year-old man who had been undergoing chronic haemodialysis (CHD) for 3 years developed haemophagocytic syndrome (HPS) that might have been triggered by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection. The patient finally died of miliary tuberculosis (TB) reactivation that promoted the progression of HPS. Immunological abnormalities in patients undergoing CHD may be notable. The early diagnosis of TB reactivation may be important for reducing the mortality in cases of HPS, as a high incidence of TB is encountered in patients undergoing CHD. In contrast, the simultaneous occurrence of an EBER-positive hybridization signal with T cell-specific immunolabelling of CD45RO cells was well detected in the spleen and lymph nodes, and interferon gamma was elevated in the serum. These findings coincide with the reported preferential expansion of T cells rather than B cells in EBV infection, and support the hypothesis that systemic hypercytokinaemia caused by the proliferation of EBV-infected T cells may play a crucial role in the development of HPS.
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