Epstein-Barr Virus (EPV)
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), also known as human herpesvirus 4, spreads through bodily fluids and can lead to infectious mononucleosis (‘mono’) and other illnesses.
EBV spreads through bodily fluids, including blood and semen, although primarily through saliva. The disease can also spread through blood transfusions, organ transplants, sharing cutlery, crockery and personal items, to name a few.
During a first time infection, or primary EBV infection, an infected individual can spread the virus for weeks, even without the onset of symptoms. Once infected, the virus can remain latent (inactive) in the host and reactivate, causing transmission to others, regardless of when the primary infection occurred.
Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Throat inflammation
- Swollen lymph glands in the neck
- Swollen liver
- Rash (this symptom is less common)
- Enlarged spleen
Diagnosis, treatment and prevention
A blood test that detects antibodies can confirm a current or past EBV infection. Treatment options relieve symptoms, and infected individuals are encouraged to get rest, stay hydrated and to consult a healthcare provider if they need medication to help manage the symptoms. The recovery period normally takes between two to four weeks.