Thursday, 24 May 2012

Epstein-Barr Syndome

"EB (Epstein Barr) is a nasty little piece of work" one of my friends declared on Facebook last year. At the time all I knew about it was that I had tested positive for it in a blood test in 2002, and been told by the doctor that it indicated that I had probably had glandular fever at some point. As such I thought Epstein Barr was Glandular Fever. I wasn't entirely wrong.

Epstein Barr is sneaky. It can present with extremely mild symptoms, like a cold, or even no symptoms at all. As the article linked in the title explains, when symptoms are present they usually clear up within a couple of months. My understanding of viruses was that they usually passed a lot more quickly than this. For me, if symptoms last that long, I would start to think that the symptoms were normal, part of my body's functionality. This is probably what did happen with me, and the reason that I did not have it treated.

In severe cases people will represent with full blown glandular fever ("mono" to any Americans reading). Swollen glands, fever, extreme fatigue, being a few of the symptoms they will experience.

Epstein Barr doesn't just go away. Like other members of the herpes family it may lie dormant causing further problems later on in ones life. It has been linked to a number of diseases and condtions, including of course, M.E.. Other diseases believed to be linked to Epstein Barr include Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, and some cancers.

Epstein Barr, being a virus, tends to appear in clusters. I remember at college several of my peers having Glandular Fever within a few months of each other. I never had Glandular Fever, but my best friend did. I spent a lot of time by her bedside because she was extremely ill with it. I possibly did have EB at that time, but did not display any of the symptoms.

I actually believe that we had a cluster of it while I was at school though, before college. Many of my peers from school are now ill. I know of at least four people I was at school with who now have M.E.. My sister has MS. I have not done the research, but I suspect there are others from our years who have autoimmune conditions.

It is an accepted fact that M.E. seems to appear in clusters. I wonder whether any epidemiologists have explored whether Epstein Barr related conditions also appear in the same clusters. Did my school suffer from Epstein-Barr Syndrome?

No comments:

Post a comment