The Epstein-barr virus is a common virus that causes several disorders. There is much debate about the virus’ exact link with many of the disorders it is believed to cause. A few of these disorders include infectious mononucleosis or what is called the ‘kissing disease’ and some forms of cancer like Burkitt’s lymphoma. The Epstein-barr virus is from the same family of viruses as herpes and can affect people of all ages. The viral infection is contagious and can take epidemic proportions. The lymphocytes and lymph nodes in the body are first affected by the virus. As and when the virus comes in contact with white blood cells, it changes their shape and cause an increase in their production. These modified white blood cells accumulate in number over time in the body and gradually lead to an infection. The symptoms may thus take some time to manifest as the virus takes time to increase the level of white blood cells in the body. Since the Epstein-barr virus targets the throat and neck first, the lymph nodes may become enlarged and may lead to a scratchy, sore throat and sometimes even a fever.
When the virus infection lasts longer than six months, the condition is termed chronic. Another common disorder associated with the Epstein-barr virus is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The widespread debate regarding the Epstein-barr virus and its effects are largely owing to the variety and range of its symptoms. This could also sometimes lead to wrong diagnosis and improper treatment. There are many strains of the virus in several countries and it is thus difficult to diagnose and treat. However, there are several tests available that can identify the virus and if you suspect that you have an infection caused by the Epstein-barr virus, then consult your physician immediately. A monospot test is the most common method of identifying the Epstein-barr virus. If you are experiencing any discomfort in your throat while swallowing and if you have observed swollen glands in your groin, neck or armpits and if you have a persistent temperature, then you are probably infected with the Epstein-barr virus.
It is best to maintain precaution while caring for an infection caused by the Epstein-barr virus. Since it is highly contagious, ensure that you do not share any personal articles to avoid spreading the infection. The virus is also capable of remaining dormant in infected cells and should thus be approached with caution, even in the case of a patient who has recovered.