Diagnosis of Atypical Cases of Infectious Mononucleosis
Clinical Infectious Diseases July 2001 V.33 N.1 P.83-88
Kazuyuki Taga, Hiromi Taga, and Giovanna Tosato
1 Department of Pediatrics, Neagari Hospital, Ishikawa, Japan
2 Taroda Clinic, Ishikawa, Japan
3 National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, Division of Clinical Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland
The variable manifestations of infectious mononucleosis rarely cause clinicians to suspect primary Epstein-Barr virus or cytomegalovirus infection; consequently, costly diagnostic tests and unnecessary treatments are undertaken. Seventeen cases of clinically atypical and 11 cases of clinically typical infectious mononucleosis were diagnosed through screening for atypical and apoptotic lymphocytes in the peripheral blood samples by means of an automated hematologic analyzer. Atypical and typical cases did not differ significantly with respect to peripheral white blood cell counts; percentages of lymphocytes, atypical lymphocytes, CD4+ lymphocytes, human leukocyte antigen-DR positivity in CD3 lymphocytes, or apoptotic cells in blood smear after incubation; or levels of aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, and lactate dehydrogenase. Only the percentage of CD8+ lymphocytes was significantly higher in patients with typical infectious mononucleosis than it was in patients with atypical infectious mononucleosis. Because certain atypical cases of infectious mononucleosis display laboratory abnormalities that are characteristic of typical infectious mononucleosis, enhanced awareness can help in the diagnosis.