Epstein-Barr Virus

Epstein-Barr Virus – A hidden route to Multiple Ailments?


Epstein-Barr comes across as the virus causing mononucleosis. The ailment is better known by its sobriquet “mono”. The other nickname that this disease has attained is “kissing disease”, as it is one of the ways of spreading it to the other person.

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is certainly not a known name, but there are instances wherein people do carry it without even knowing it. In other words, asymptomatic cases regarding EBV are on the rise.

What are the Symptoms of EBV?

The symptoms of EBV could be seen within 4 to 6 weeks of getting infected, and even if they do, they are pretty mild. In kids, the symptoms might resemble flu or cold.

The most common symptoms in adults include fever, fatigue, lack of appetite, rashes, sore throat, swollen glands in neck, and sore muscles and weakness. Though the ailment gets cured in subsequent 2-4 weeks, fatigue is likely to stay for two more months.

How does EBV spread?

Saliva carries Epstein-Barr virus. As such, kissing the infected person could result in spread of mono. You could also get it if you use the glass or toothbrush used by the infected person. Another sources are semen and blood. Therefore, you could get it through an organ transplant, blood transfusion, or sex.

The flip-side of EBV is that it stays in body for long and could become active even after several months or years, thereby rendering you contagious.

How does EBV get diagnosed?

The diagnosis of EBV is quite tough, as sore throat, fatigue, and fever could be the symptoms of common cold or flu as well. The other signs that doctor would look out for include enlarged spleen, white patches on tonsils, and swollen liver. The blood tests include the ones for antibodies and white blood cells.

Treating EBV?

Though there is no prescribed medicine for Epstein-Barr virus, certain home remedies could help in easing the symptoms:

  • Taking adequate rest
  • Maintain your hydration by drinking plenty of water/other liquids
  • Make sure to go for warm salty water gargles, so as to get away with sore throat
  • Go for painkillers ibuprofen or acetaminophen for bringing town the fever and body pain. It’s advisable to not prescribe aspirin for those aged under 19 as risk of Reye’s syndrome can’t be ruled out.

EBV causing Multiple Sclerosis as well?

Of late, it’s being said that EBV causes multiple sclerosis. Researchers from Harvard have reported a case study on this count. They did track blood samples from over 10 Mn people all across the US military and concluded that risk of multiple sclerosis rose 32-fold on getting Epstein-Barr infection.

Dr. Lawrence Steinman and Dr. William H. Robinson from Stanford University confirmed the above in their editorial. However, they put across a word of caution that extra fuses should be ignited. In other words, genes making people more vulnerable should be checked.

EBV is also said to have been linked with progression of certain rare cancers and autoimmune diseases. Though the reason is not clear, “molecular mimicry” is looked upon as a possibility.

Deeper research is expected to unleash the intricacies related to Epstein-Barr virus.

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