Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection usually occurs in early childhood and can persist in palatine tonsil lymphocytes to induce tonsillitis at a later date. We have examined the presence of EBV in palatine tonsils and relationship between EBV-DNA quantity in tonsil tissues and VCA-IgG quantity in autologous sera. Tonsils were obtained from 36 patients, male 20 (55.6%), female 16 (44.4%) (mean age 7.96 +/- A 6.97 years), who underwent tonsils removal because of recurrent tonsillitis. Tissues were processed for real-time PCR and patient's sera were assayed to determine VCA-IgG by VCA-IgG ELISA. In 27 out of 36 cases (75%), positive EBV-DNA reaction was found. However, statistical analysis showed no correlation between EBV-DNA quantity and VCA-IgG quantity. We conclude that tonsils of children can be colonized by EBV and that virus may have a direct and indirect role in recurrent tonsillitis and nasopharyngeal carcinoma.