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Chronic EBV (epstein-barr virus)

Chronic EBV (Epstein Barr)

If you’re worried that you may be experiencing the symptoms of Chronic EBV, we can get to the heart of the problem and provide effective treatment.

Epstein Barr, also known as EBV, is one of the most common viruses in humans. It’s part of the herpes family and spreads easily through body fluids including saliva. Around 90% of people will have EBV in their life – most of us will have had it and developed antibodies by the time we reach adulthood. Once you have the virus it usually remains inactive in the body for the rest of your life.

In some rare cases – usually in those with weakened immune systems – it can reactivate and develop into chronic EBV, where symptoms become persistent and do not go away. If left untreated, chronic EBV can lead to failure of the immune system which can lead to potentially life-threatening complications. It has also been linked to certain cancers.

Symptoms of chronic EBV

Symptoms of chronic EBV are similar to those experienced with the common cold, which can make it difficult to diagnose. We often see patients with chronic EBV have previously been told there is nothing wrong with them. Whilst most people feel well and recover quickly none the wiser, for others, it can affect them for months, particularly in those with a compromised immune system, for example, those on immunosuppressive drugs like methotrexate, steroids, and cyclosporin A.

Symptoms will vary from person to person and could be mild or severe. It causes lethargy, excessive tiredness, and lack of energy. It is also referred to as ME or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

If you are concerned that you may have signs of chronic EBV, please don’t delay, contact us to book a consultation.

Symptoms can include:

  • Swollen lymph nodes (lumps or pain in the neck)
  • Rash
  • Headache
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Fever
  • Anaemia
  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Sore throat

Chronic EBV can also cause inflammation of the liver and spleen.

Conditions related to chronic EBV

EBV is commonly known as the cause of glandular fever, but it has also been implicated in other diseases, including multiple sclerosis. 1 in 300 UK cancer cases are caused by EBV and it can be linked to bone marrow or lymph node cancers, Burkitt’s lymphoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, stomach cancer, nasopharyngeal carcinoma and is also thought to contribute to a higher risk of developing autoimmune diseases.

Investigations & tests for chronic EBV

Symptoms of the Epstein Barr virus are similar to those of the common cold, which can make it difficult to diagnose. At The Coker Chest Clinic we take a comprehensive approach and provide in-depth investigations:

  • Physical examination
  • Blood testing to determine the presence of chronic and/or acute EBV infection

You’ll have a thorough consultation and a clinical exam that will consider your symptoms and medical history, and will undergo detailed blood testing which looks for specific EBV antibodies. This allows us to make an accurate diagnosis. For the utmost convenience, our blood testing can be carried out by our mobile phlebotomy service in the comfort of your own home or at your workplace.

It is often the case that chronic EBV is caused by an underlying condition Our thorough approach to testing will help to uncover the root cause and, once identified, we can then look at providing effective treatment.

Find out more about investigations.

Treatment for chronic EBV

Treatment for chronic EBV will vary between patients but will usually consist of a two-pronged approach. We simultaneously tackle the symptoms to help you feel better and improve your quality of life, whilst also addressing the underlying issue.

Book your consultation

To arrange a telephone, video or face-to-face consultation with our specialist consultant in respiratory medicine, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

020 7118 5600
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