Our expert says:
Julie, the main disease caused by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is infectious mononucleosis (glandular fever). EBV has also been associated with African Burkitt's lymphoma, certain B-cell neoplasms in immunocompromised patients (especially those with organ allografts, HIV infection, or ataxia-telangiectasia), and nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
With glandular fever the tiredness may start a week or so before the other symptoms, but very few people seek medical advice for it. The temperature may reach 39.5° C to 40.5° C. The throat pain and the fever are the first symptoms to go (within 1 to 2 weeks), but the swollen glands and tiredness may persist for quite some time. (Over the past several years, many investigators have identified patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, an illness characterized by fatigue, mild cognitive dysfunction, and, in some cases, low-grade fever and lymphadenopathy. Although some have speculated that EBV plays a role in the pathogenesis of chronic fatigue syndrome, little objective evidence supports this hypothesis. Occasional case reports have supported an association between chronic EBV infection and a syndrome of fever, interstitial pneumonitis, pancytopenia, and uveitis. These patients should be distinguished from those with chronic fatigue syndrome, who have no objective symptoms or signs).
After the primary glandular fever infection, the virus will stay in the person for life and will be shed periodically from the throat. At any given time, 15-25% of healthy Epstein-Barr virus positive people will be shedding the virus from their throats and will in other words be infective.
If you want to know more about glandular fever, you can mail me at email@example.com and I’ll send you a copy of something I wrote a while ago. Good luck.
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