Epstein-Barr, also known as the EBV virus, is a member of the herpes family and is one of the most common viruses around the world. So much so that almost every person is exposed to EBV at some point in their lives and it is estimated that 90 to 95 percent of adults have antibodies that indicate a current or past EBV infection. While anyone can get the virus, it is most often seen in children. While there are specific Epstein-Barr symptoms, they closely resemble symptoms from other illnesses too, making it harder to diagnose.
How Mono is Related to EBV
First of all, EBV is known to cause other illnesses, including mononucleosis and it can be spread by kissing, having sex and sharing foods and drinks after someone who has EBV. So, while someone may have gotten mono from another person, it does not necessarily mean that other person also had mono, but could mean they had EBV. Some symptoms of mono are: fatigue, sore throat, headache, fever, swollen tonsils and swollen lymph nodes. General symptoms of EBV are: coughing, headache, fatigue, fever, swollen tonsils, nasal congestion and sneezing. Both viruses have very similar symptoms, which can cause a wrong diagnosis.
What Causes Mono?
While other viruses can cause this disease, the most common cause of mononucleosis is the EBV. Symptoms of mono usually develop around four to six weeks after exposure to EBV. Earlier symptoms resemble symptoms of a cold or a flu, but as the virus goes further along, symptoms get worse. Additional symptoms of an advanced infection are: fatigue, fever, swollen lymph nodes, enlarged spleen, swollen liver, and rash, which are more common to the symptoms we see in mono rather than the Epstein-Barr virus symptoms earlier on.
Both mono and the Epstein-Barr virus have no known cure; antibiotics do not work on viruses such as these two. The recommended treatment is to get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids and take over-the-counter pain and fever medications. Adults and teenagers who have EBV and mono are normally seen to get better within two to four weeks, although some can have symptoms for months. After you have had an EBV infection, the virus will become dormant in the body. Sometimes the virus may reactivate, which does not always cause symptoms, but those who have a weakened immune system are more likely to develop symptoms if the virus reactivates.