Factors involved in determining whether infectious mononucleosis occurs after primary EBV infection may include age, dose of virus received, and various genetic markers. A study by McAulay and colleagues reported in this issue of the JCI shows that the presence of certain HLA class I alleles correlates with the incidence and severity of infectious mononucleosis (see the related article beginning on page 3042). These same HLA alleles are also risk factors for EBV-associated Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), supporting recent epidemiology that indicates that a history of infectious mononucleosis predisposes to HL. Recent studies suggest that an EBV vaccine might help to prevent infectious mononucleosis, and further development of this should now be considered.
Paul J. Farrell