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Title: Epstein-Barr virus infection in the Edinburgh student population
Author: Macsween, Karen F.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2009
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A longitudinal sero-epidemiological cohort study of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in the Edinburgh student population was conducted between 1999 and 2003. During this time 60 cases of infectious mononucleosis (IM) were recruited at the University Health Centre to join a case control study to investigate the symptoms of IM and its impact on daily activities. In the longitudinal cohort study a total of 2006 students (1258 female and 748) commencing four year degree courses in 1999 or 2000 had their EBV serology determined and completed a lifestyle questionnaire. Overall 1499 (75%) were EBV seropositive at recruitment. Female students were more likely than male students to be seropositive (79% vs. 69%, p<0.001), as were, students with siblings (75%, compared to those without 66%, p=0.023), and those reporting prior residence in a tropical country (81%, p=0.003). Students reporting a prior sexual relationship were more likely to be seropositive (83%, p<0.001). Repeat serological testing of 241 initially seronegative students undertaken at the start of their fourth year of study showed that 110 (54%) had seroconverted over the intervening three year period. The proportion experiencing IM was 25%. Of the 60 IM cases recruited to the case control study the great majority 56/60 (93%) had either sore throat or complaints relating to lymphadenopathy when presenting to their GP. Few students complained of fever (13%), and some had presentations that included atypical symptoms including gastrointestinal complaints 8% (predominantly vomiting), headache 10%, fainting 10% or cough 7%. Students with IM are likely to be sexually active, and may therefore have additional health care needs. IM in university students is associated with prolonged clinical, immunological, and social consequences. Female students are more likely than males to experience a protracted fatigue state and to miss university classes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (M.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available