Epstein Barr Virus Infection - The Kissing Disease

Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) was discovery in 1964 by Sir Michael Anthony Epstein and Ms. Yvonne Barr. Acute infectious mononucleosis (AIM), also known as mono or the "kissing disease" is caused by this virus. This virus spreads through body fluids, such as saliva, which makes it getting transmitted easily through kiss, and got the disease named "kissing disease". EBV affects 90% American population at some point in life.

Epstein Barr Virus

Scientifically it is human herpesvirus 4 and belongs to herpes virus family. It is a common virus that affects humans and found all over the world. The bad news about this virus is that it is associated with various types of cancer and also connected to some medical conditions related to HIV infection.
Important :

  • Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) can survive on an object (such as toothbrush or drinking glass) as long as the surface remains moist.
  • Sometime symptoms may take weeks to appear after the infection.
  • A person infected with EBV can pass on the virus to others even before showing any visible symptoms.
  • Even when the symptoms are gone the person can spread the virus for next 18 months.
  • Many people infected with EBV don't develop any symptom as the virus become latent (inactive) after entering the body.
  • People with weaker immune system are more prone to showing symptoms as virus can reactivate after sometime.
  • Once a person is recovered after developing the symptoms, he / she will never suffer from it again as the immunity get developed.

Epstein-Barr Virus Infection Causes

  • Infection through Saliva : Kissing, sharing utensils for eating or drinking
  • Infection through sexual contact and genital fluids
  • Infection through blood transfusion
  • Infection through organ transplant
First two causes of infection are most common and responsible for most of the spread of EBV virus.

Epstein Barr Virus Infection Symptoms

Epstein Barr Virus can infect a wide range of cells in human body including B cells and epithelial cells. It gives rise to various symptoms. Some of them are listed below.
  • Feeling of Low Energy Level and tiredness.
  • Fever
  • Inflamed / swollen throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Swollen liver

Epstein Barr Virus Infection Diagnosis

EBV infection is hard to be diagnosed as the symptoms are similar to some other common diseases. However antibodies can be detected through blood test. Nine out of every ten blood tests will show positive result of these antibodies, which indicates that either the person is currently infected or recovered from a EPV infection in past. If the blood test remains positive for antibodies and the person is showing symptoms then it means that he/she is currently infected.

Epstein Barr Virus Infection Treatment and Cure

There is no vaccine or medicine to save to from EBV infection. If you are infected with EBV then treating the symptoms is the only way to treat it. Your doctor may recommend some pain relievers and anti inflammatory medicines for such symptoms along with adequate rest. If you want to save yourself from Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) then don't share drinks or food, never indulge in unprotected sexual activity and avoid kissing (as there is nothing like protected kissing). But the truth is that it is nearly impossible to save yourself from EBV as this virus is already spread across the globe. So improve your immune system to always be ready to combat this virus.
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