Epstein-Barr Virus: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment


The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), also called human gammaherpesvirus 4 is a member of the herpes virus family . EBV is one of the most common types of human herpesvirus types in the herpes family. EBV causes mononucleosis, or the commonly known "mono". It is also known as the kissing disease, as saliva is one of the means through which the EBV spreads. The virus is found in all corners of the world and can affect people of any age. However, it is mostly reported in young adults .

EBV is contagious, that is, it can spread from one individual to the other. The virus affects or more likely, infects the human B cells and eventually spreads throughout the reticuloendothelial system or RES. The reticuloendothelial system consists of the liver, spleen, and peripheral lymph nodes .

Studies have revealed that about 50 per cent of the population will develop antibodies against the virus by the age of 5. In the case of adolescents, about 12 per cent can develop antibodies later in life. The EBV is linked with fever, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, and sometimes an enlarged spleen. However, it does not state that everyone with EBV will develop mononucleosis .

Although the signs and symptoms caused by the virus will not be essentially severe or fatal, it will be present in your body throughout your life. As most people will not have any visible symptoms, they will not even be aware of the presence of the virus in their system .

The virus is associated with various diseases such as  

Once the EBV infects an individual, it will take around four to six weeks for the symptoms to show up. The symptoms are mostly mild, especially in young children, as adults tend to show the symptoms at one point .

In the case of kids, the symptoms will that of a cold or the flu. It will be more severe and obvious in teenagers and adolescents .

You will have the following symptoms if you are affected by the Epstein-Barr virus .

As the EBV is contagious, it can spread from one individual to the other when you come in close contact. The virus is found in the saliva .

It is not necessary that one will become sick if the EBV is present in your system. Likewise, the virus will stay in your system even after you get better and can re-activate in a period of months or even years .

EBV does not pose complications that usually. However, if a child shows the following signs, it is required that you go to a doctor immediately .

There are possibilities of the following complications arising with the onset of the viral infection .

It is difficult to understand whether you are affected by the EBV. As the symptoms such as fever, fatigue, sore throat etc., can be the symptoms of a cold or the flu .

If the symptoms are causing severe discomfort, go to a doctor and he will check for the EBV.

In order to understand the possibility of EBV, the doctor will examine whether you have an enlarged spleen, swollen liver or white patches on your tonsils.

You will be required to take some blood tests. The tests will analyse and examine the presence of antibodies in your blood. The antibodies will indicate the presence of EBV in your body. Blood tests will be conducted to examine whether your body has a certain type of white blood cell, which will help in fighting against the virus .

Like other viral infections, the EBV cannot be treated with the help of antibiotics. There is no specific treatment method that can be applied to cure the virus. The virus and the symptoms caused will subside by itself in a few weeks' time.

However, you can adopt the following home remedies to manage the symptoms   .

Do not give the painkillers to children under the age of 19.

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