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Layman Help: Epstein-Barr and Unknown sickness

Mark Siddall mes at zoo.toronto.edu
Fri May 6 01:00:26 EST 1994


In article <gbchoy.768175521 at salsa> gbchoy at salsa.engr.ucdavis.edu (Garett B Choy) writes:
>
>1)  Does a person who has tested positive for EBV pose any threat
>	to those around them?  (All levels of contact from: sharing
>	food, kissing, etc)

Not necessarily.  In fact in any given locale, a huge percentage of the pop-
ulation are expected to test positive for anti-EBV antibodies.  This has
been a recurring problem for those trying to establish a link between
EBV and such things and Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma, Burkitts Lymphoma and 
even "yuppy flu".  In short, a positive test doesn't mean you're contagious
or even infecetd for that matter.  (The test is for your own reactive
antibodies, not for the virus itself).  Generally one needs to demonstrate
a four-fold titre increase to suggest that infection has ocurred.  On the
other hand who ever gets their antibody titres taken BEFORE they feel sick?
Nobody.

>
>2)  How is EBV most effectively spread?
>

Direct contact or aerosol (sneeze, cough etc).  EBV is sensitive to dessication
so a spoon used by someone and left in the sun for example is not likely to be
a source of infection.  Anything that retains moisture like a drinking glass
could.

>3)  Are there any cures for EBV?
>

No.  Treatment is simply directed at alieviating symptoms.  This is not unusual 
though as there are no (reliable) cures for any viruses.  Yes there are 
vaccines for some but these are preventative, not curative.  Some curatives
like acyclovir have some limited effectiveness against other herpes
viruses.  In general though, once infected with a virus, it must rum its 
course.
     ASIDE:  given that we can't CURE any other viral infection, what
             gives us the audacity to think we can CURE people of HIV
             in the near future?  Not that we shouldn't try.  HIV is
             considerably more complicated than most other viruses.

>
>My situation:  A very good friend of mine got mononucleosis 2.5 years ago.
>She recovered from the mono symptoms.  Tests showed that she had EBV.
>However, the past two years, she has been suffering from another illness
>which many doctors have not yet been able to identify.  Symptoms: fatigue
>(she needs 10-12 hrs sleep a night), and extreme nausea.  A recent fiber
>optic probe revealed her stomach lining to be enflamed, but the biopsy
>did not reveal positive to the virus(es) they were looking for.  If this
>sounds familair, please give suggestions.  I will inform her so she may
>consult the doctors.  Thanks, again.
>

This halobacter and ulcer thing is in vogue.


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