Epstein—Barr virus (EBV) is associated with post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD). To determine whether the donor EBV isolate is transmitted to the recipient via the allograft and causes PTLD, EBV isolates from four cases of PTLD in cadaveric heart and/or lung transplant recipients were compared with the donor isolates by PCR and DNA sequence analysis. Two recipients who were EBV seronegative at transplantation acquired an EBV isolate indistinguishable from that of the donor and developed PTLD. In contrast, in two patients who were seropositive before transplantation, the donor isolate differed from that present in PTLD of the recipient. The results suggest that the acquisition of donor EBV is a risk factor for PTLD development in a previously seronegative transplant recipient.


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