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Hypersensitivity to mosquito bites (HMB) is a rare disease characterized by transient intense skin reaction and systemic inflammation. Clinical presentation of HMB resembles other mosquito allergic responses, and it can also be difficult to clinically distinguish HMB from other severe allergic reactions. However, a distinctive pathophysiology underlies HMB. HMB belongs to a category of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-associated natural killer (NK) cell lymphoproliferative disorders (LPD). Hence, HMB may progress to systemic diseases, such as hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, chronic active EBV disease, and EBV-associated malignancies. A triad of elevated serum IgE, NK lymphocytosis, and detection of EBV DNA in peripheral blood is commonly observed, and identification of EBV-infected NK cells usually facilitates the diagnosis. However, the effective treatment is limited, and its precise etiology remains unknown. Local CD4+ T cell proliferation triggered by mosquito bites appears to help induce EBV reactivation and EBV-infected NK-cell proliferation. These immunological interactions may explain the transient HMB signs and symptoms and the disease progression toward malignant LPD. Further research to elucidate the mechanism of HMB is warranted for better diagnosis and treatment of HMB and other forms of EBV-associated LPD. Copyright © 2021 Japanese Society of Allergology. Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Masaki Yamada, Yuriko Ishikawa, Ken-Ichi Imadome. Hypersensitivity to mosquito bites: A versatile Epstein-Barr virus disease with allergy, inflammation, and malignancy. Allergology international : official journal of the Japanese Society of Allergology. 2021 Oct;70(4):430-438

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PMID: 34334322

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