BACKGROUND: The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) viral glycoprotein gp350 has been proposed as a candidate antigen for an EBV vaccine. However, the proposed formulations of these vaccines have not taken into account the presence of 2 unique EBV strains (EBV-1 and EBV-2) present in areas of high incidence of the EBV-associated cancer, Burkitt lymphoma. METHODS: In this study, we analyze the kinetics of EBV-1 and EBV-2 infection in an asymptomatic infant cohort from Kisumu, Kenya. We also analyzed the kinetics of the antibody response against 5 EBV antigens, gp350 (IgG and IgA), VCA (IgG), EBNA-1 (IgG), EAd (IgG), and Zta (IgG). RESULTS: We observed a high frequency of coinfection with both EBV types over time, with the only observable defect in the antibody response in infants coinfected being a significantly lower level of anti-gp350 IgA at peak response. Gp350 IgA levels were also significantly lower in coinfected infants 2.5 months postinfection and at the time of coinfection. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that anti-gp350 IgA antibodies may be important for sterilizing immunity against secondary infection. These findings have implications for the development of an efficacious EBV vaccine to prevent both EBV-1 and EBV-2 infection in a population at high risk for Burkitt lymphoma.