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Epstein-Barr virus myelitis and Castleman's disease in a patient with acquired immune deficiency syndrome: a case report

Costantine Albany1*, George Psevdos24, Jasminka Balderacchi3 and Victoria L Sharp4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medicine, St Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York, NY, USA

2 Division of Infectious Disease, St Luke's-Roosevelt Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY, USA

3 Department of Pathology, St Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York, NY, USA

4 Center of Comprehensive Care, St Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, 1000 10th Ave, Suite 2T, New York, NY, 10019, USA

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Journal of Medical Case Reports 2011, 5:209  doi:10.1186/1752-1947-5-209

Published: 27 May 2011



Few cases of Epstein-Barr virus myelitis have been described in the literature. Multi-centric Castleman's disease is a lymphoproliferative disorder that is well known for its associations with the human immunodeficiency virus, human herpes virus 8, and Kaposi's sarcoma. The concurrent presentation of these two diseases in a patient at the same time is extremely unusual.

Case Presentation

We describe the case of a 43-year-old Caucasian man with acquired immune deficiency syndrome who presented with fever, weight loss and diffuse lymphadenopathy, and was diagnosed with multi-centric Castleman's disease. He presented three weeks later with lower extremity weakness and urinary retention, at which time cerebrospinal fluid contained lymphocytic pleocytosis and elevated protein. Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated abnormal spinal cord signal intensity over several cervical and thoracic segments, suggesting the diagnosis of myelitis. Our patient was ultimately diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus myelitis, as Epstein-Barr virus DNA was detected by polymerase chain reaction in the cerebrospinal fluid.


To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case of multi-centric Castleman's disease followed by acute Epstein-Barr virus myelitis in a human immunodeficiency virus-infected patient. Clinicians caring for human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients should be vigilant about monitoring patients with increasing lymphadenopathy, prompting thorough diagnostic investigations when necessary.