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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Epstein-Barr Disease

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

Epstein-Barr Virus [posted 7/30/98]
Question: Is the Epstein-Barr Virus related to mono? If so, should I follow the same precautions, such as avoiding any physical activity? Prior to being diagnosed I worked out at the gym 3-4 times a week.. Unfortunately, my doctor doesn't know much about the virus.

Answer: The Epstein-Barr Virus is the causal agent for mononucleosis. It depends on whether you are currently acutely ill and the virus is in your system or whether it merely represents a previous infection and you are seeing a positive anti-body test. An acute infection can vary from mild to severe. The risk of exercise is in rupturing the spleen. If your spleen is not enlarged, the risk of exercise is minimal and you can exercise to tolerance. If your spleen is enlarged, contact should be avoided and many physicians would treat you with steroids to reduce the risk of spleenic rupture.

General Information
Question: What is Epstein-Barr Disease? How is it treated? What are the symptoms? My mother has been diagnosed with this disease and her local doctors seem to know very little about it.

Answer: Epstein-Barr is a virus that causes mononucleosis. Initially, some of the chronic fatigue research and writings centered on this virus as the cause of chronic fatigue. However, further research has fairly definitely shown that this virus is not involved in the causation of chronic fatigue. However, there was a time when physicians­ORI researchers referred to Epstein-Barr Disease or Chronic Epstein-Barr Disease. There is no such diagnosis. However, with the publicity generated by chronic fatigue and the number of people with reproducible symptoms and no cause or treatment some patients and doctors continue to discuss Chronic Epstein-Barr Viral infection as a clinical syndrome which it is not. Focus on her other medical problems-especially chronic fatigue if present. This disease is only touted by those clinicians who are more concerned about her money than her health.

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