Epstein-Barr virus

Throat | Otorhinolaryngology | Epstein-Barr virus (Disease)


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a virus in the herpes family that is best known as the cause of infectious mononucleosis (also called mono and glandular fever).

Symptoms of Epstein Barr infection include fatigue, weakness, fever, headache, muscle aches, rash, sore throat, swollen tonsils, and swollen glands in the neck. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, jaundice, and abdominal pain.

Causes and Risk factors

EBV infection is characterized by fatigue and general malaise. Infection with EBV is common and is normally temporary and minor. However, in some individuals EBV can trigger chronic illness, including immune and lymphoproliferative syndromes. It is a particular danger to people with compromised immune systems, including those with AIDS. It is also known as human herpesvirus 4.

Epstein-Barr virus causes infectious mononucleosis. It affects the mouth and throat, the lungs, liver, and lymphatic system. It occurs most commonly between the ages of 10 and 35, and the symptoms can mimic streptococcal tonsillitis. Most people can only get the infection once.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Most people become infected with EBV and gain adaptive immunity. Most patients recover within 2-4 weeks without medication.

Acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (ibuprofen, naproxen) and drinking plenty of fluids are the mainstay of treatment. There is no specific anti-viral treatment available.

Steroid medication may be considered for patients with severe symptoms. Patients are asked to avoid contact sports to prevent the spleen from rupturing. ...

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