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Unveiling the Mystery of Epstein-Barr Virus: A Closer Look at the Silent Intruder

Updated: Mar 30, 2023

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), also known as human herpesvirus 4, is a common virus that infects humans. It belongs to the herpesvirus family and is one of the most common viruses worldwide.


EBV is most commonly associated with infectious mononucleosis (commonly known as mono or glandular fever), which is a viral illness characterized by fatigue, fever, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes. However, most people infected with EBV will not develop symptoms.


In addition to mono, EBV has also been linked to several other diseases, including some types of cancer, such as Hodgkin's lymphoma, Burkitt's lymphoma, and nasopharyngeal carcinoma.


EBV is typically spread through contact with bodily fluids, such as saliva, and can also be transmitted through blood transfusions and organ transplants. There is currently no cure for EBV, but treatment is aimed at managing symptoms and complications associated with the infection.


Reactivated EBV


Reactivated Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) refers to a situation where the virus, which had been lying dormant in the body after a previous infection, becomes active again and begins to replicate. This can lead to the reemergence of symptoms, particularly in individuals with weakened immune systems.


Reactivation of EBV is common and can occur in up to 20% of healthy individuals. However, it is more likely to occur in people who have had a previous infection with the virus, particularly if they have a weakened immune system due to factors such as stress, illness, or certain medications.


Symptoms of reactivated EBV can include fatigue, sore throat, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and muscle aches. In some cases, it can also lead to the development of more serious conditions, such as chronic fatigue syndrome or autoimmune disorders.


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has been linked to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), which is a condition characterized by persistent fatigue and other symptoms such as muscle pain, headaches, and cognitive difficulties. In some cases, CFS can be triggered by a viral infection such as EBV.


It is estimated that up to 10% of people with acute EBV infection go on to develop CFS. While the exact mechanisms by which EBV can lead to CFS are not fully understood, it is thought that the virus may trigger an immune response that results in chronic inflammation and fatigue.


There is currently no cure for CFS, but treatment is focused on managing symptoms and improving quality of life. This may include a combination of medications, such as pain relievers and antidepressants, acupuncture, as well as lifestyle changes, such as exercise and stress management techniques.

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Nicole Peterson, LAc, MAcOM is a licensed acupuncturist in Ashland, Oregon. She loves sharing her passion for natural approaches to health through her online blog and at her clinic, Ashland Family Acupuncture. Contact us for an appointment or free consultation. 541-631-9649

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