Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) - Dream Health

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Thursday 1 June 2023

Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)

Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)

EBV, which stands for Epstein-Barr virus, is called human herpesvirus 4. It belongs to the herpes virus family. This one is a very common human virus and is found throughout the world. The virus has infected most people at some point in their lives. It usually spreads through bodily fluids, primarily saliva. Due to the virus, you can experience infectious mononucleosis, called mono, with other illnesses.

What is the Epstein-Barr virus?

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a commonly known viral infection that can spread through saliva & body fluids. This one is a type of herpes virus.

What causes the Epstein-Barr virus?

The virus can be caused due to close person-to-person contact. It can easily spread through saliva (spit), blood, and semen. In addition, it may spread through blood transfusions or organ transplants.

What are its symptoms?

As soon as the virus infects you, the symptoms will appear from 4 to 6 weeks. In young kids, the symptoms are often mild. Symptoms in children are like those of a cold or flu. Teenagers experience more obvious symptoms of mono.

Have you got Epstein-Barr virus symptoms? You will then most likely experience the following:

  • Fatigue 
  • Fever
  • Lack of appetite 
  • Rash 
  • Sore throat 
  • Swollen glands in the neck 
  • Weakness and sore muscles

You will feel better after 2-4 weeks. But the fatigue sticks around much longer. Tiredness remains even for a couple of months.

How does EBV spread?

As Epstein-Barr virus is found in saliva, the virus may come to you when you kiss the infected person. If you drink water from the same glass or use an infected person's toothbrush, you can be infected. The virus is found in blood and semen. Therefore, you can experience mono from sex, a blood transfusion, or an organ transplant.

However, you may not be sick to pass the virus to another person. The virus can stay in your body long after getting over mono and can be active again months or years later. As a result, it can make you contagious again.


You never know from your symptoms that you have mononucleosis. The reason is that these could be signs of flu or a cold. You must consult with your doctor to learn what makes you sick. Doctors could find signs indicating that you have mono, like an enlarged spleen, an organ in the belly filtering blood. They will check if there is any swollen liver and white patches on the tonsils.

It is essential to do a few blood tests. A test is done to check for antibodies, and substances that the immune system makes in response to this virus. Another test says the type of white blood cell which your body uses to fight off the EBV infection.

Epstein-Barr virus Treatment:

What to do at Home—

No medicine can cure the virus. So, you need to take the steps for your betterment:

  • You must take plenty of rest. 
  • It is essential to drink water & other liquids a lot so that you can stay hydrated. 
  • Try to improve your sore throat by sucking on lozenges, ice pops, or gargling with warm salt water. 
  • You may use painkillers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, which help to reduce the level of fever and relieve body aches. Kids under nineteen years of age must not take aspirin due to a rare but serious risk called Reye's syndrome.
  • You should avoid sports, heavy lifting, or other vigorous activities for a month or so.


There does not exist any vaccine to protect against the EBV virus. So, you need to avoid catching it to stay away from someone experiencing mono. You must not share any items, including glasses, silverware, and toothbrushes with a person who is infected. It is necessary to avoid kissing or intimacy with an infected person.

When should you see your doctor?

The virus sometimes shows a few rare complications of mono. Therefore, you need to consult with the doctor when you or your kid is experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Sudden sharp pain on your belly's left side that indicates a problem with your spleen 
  • Very little urine, which is a dehydration sign If there is any problem with breathing or swallowing, you must call 911 immediately. 
  • You must also call when you see the symptoms exist even after 4 to 6 weeks. Sometimes, you can have another type of infection besides mononucleosis.

Other Diseases Caused by EBV:

The virus mainly causes mononucleosis, but it may less often cause other diseases, like:

  • Ear infections and diarrhoea in children 
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Certain cancers, including Burkitt's lymphoma and cancers of the nose and throat

Although studies say that EBV and multiple sclerosis (MS) are connected, much research is still necessary to determine if the virus can result in MS.

How can you prevent the Epstein-Barr virus?

You can prevent the virus by following the steps:

  • You must not share food or drinks with the person who is infected with the virus.
  • Never kiss the infected person. 
  • Ensure that you do not share a toothbrush with the virus-infected patient. 
  • You should use protection when having intimacy with the infected person. 
  • You must wash and clean your hands once you touch something with saliva on it. 
  • Ensure that you don't put your hands near your mouth after you touch an object with saliva on this.

Can you get cancer from the Epstein-Barr virus?

Although it's rare, the virus may lead to these types of cancer including:

  • White blood cell cancer, Burkitt lymphoma. 
  • Cancer of the nose and throat is called nasopharyngeal cancer.


In this article, we have covered everything that you need to know about the Epstein-Barr virus. Go through the article properly to learn what it is, its symptoms, diagnosis, preventions, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Who does the Epstein-Barr virus affect?

The virus affects kids, teenagers, and young adults. So, it can be said that the virus can infect anyone.

Q. How common is the Epstein-Barr virus?

The virus is very common. About half of all kids in the United States up to 5 years of age experience the symptoms of the virus. If it comes to talking about adults, about 95% of them experience an EBV infection in their lifetime.

Q. How soon after treatment will you feel better?

If you have been infected with the virus, it will be cured after two to four weeks. A few people can see lingering symptoms of fatigue, where they feel tired for a few weeks or months after the initial infection.

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