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Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) Message Board

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Does anyone know? Curious, as I am flaring with EBV symptoms right now, swollen glands, fatigue, loopy, sore throat, etc.
All that means is that you've been exposed to EBV at some point in the past. I'm not sure how you know your current symptoms are from EBV, but the EBV IgG test is NOT the correct test to determine this.

Additionally, if you have had some acute EBV related illness in the past (i.e. mononucleosis), having it a second time is relatively rare; however, many patients who have previously had mono attribute future viral-illness symptoms to mono whereas it is usually some other virus.

Have you had a monospot test (heterophile antibodies) done? Is that how you know your current symptoms are from EBV?
No, I haven't had that done yet. and that would be the next test, but in the past, the early antigen was always elevated well into the illness. Years. I did not mean to say my symptoms were positively from EBV, but I have had this since 1995 and this is how it manifests itself with sore throats, swollen glands, etc. I have been diagnosed with CFIDS, but I also have a positive RA test every time they test for it, so anything is possible.

Hi again,

Sorry, not familiar with CFIDS abbreviation you used. What does it stand for? Is it an immunodeficiency state? If it is, I revise my statement. Repeated EBV manifestations are clearly more common in someone who has a defiency in, especially, cell-mediated immune responses.

Generally, labs tend to not use the viral capsid antigen tests anymore because the Paul-Bunnel antigen tests (Monospot) are much more reliable for use in the acute infection. An EBV VCA IgM is pretty good at identifying acute infection, and EBV VCA IgG CAN appear in acute infection, though the latter is much more useful to show that someone has been exposed at SOME point in the past. It's generally more useful in transplant recipients when you want to know their EBV exposure status, which makes a difference on which organ you give them.
Oh, and in terms of postive RA..are you referring to the Rhematoid factor? Again, the rheumatoid factor IS seen in rheumatoid arthritis, but it can be positive in other situations (including Hepatitis C). If that is what you're talking about, it's not totally a random occurence. If CFIDS is what I think it is, it's actually not unexpected at all that you would have a positive RF.

If we are not talking about RF here, forget what I said in this post! :D
Oh...I just looked up CFIDS...chronic fatigue and immunodysfunction syndrome--a condition no one really knows much about or how to diagnose but has a really complicated name! I know there has been a lot of work looking to link this somehow with EBV. I'm not sure if the "immune dysfunction" is actually something concrete you can show in a lab or see in a clinic objectively.

All I can say from your original question is that many people with and without Chronic fatigue have been exposed to EBV in the past, and that's really the only thing you can glean from a +EBV VCA IgG. As for the positive I said before the "immune dysfunction" found in CFIDS has not exactly been shown objectively with the assays currently available for the immune system, but it can be positive in situations where someone is totally healthy.

You don't have hepatitis C by any chance do you?
No, I know I don't have hepatitis, as I was recently tested. I have had these flareups like this with the fatigue, swollen glands, sore throats, body aches, dizzy, etc., since 1995. Most of the time, I muttle through, but if I get too run down or something, this is what happens. Oh, and by the way if it's any help, the EBV VCA IgM was negative. They didn't do an early antigen or a monospot, but monospot has been negative in the past at times of flares, but early antigen has remained positive for years after initial illness. I know when I first got sick, my one EBV test was over 5,000 from the way it keeps on doubling or something and the early antigen was elevated. I was one sick puppy, LOL. I have had so many tests, but that's all they have come up with is the CFIDS and fibromyalgia.

I am confused about all the EBVs as well!
I have been "tired" and gotten run down easily for years. I was beginning to think it was just in my head.
When I have gone to Dr. about it in the past, it was determined that I had a low thyroid and was put on synthroid. It helped a little but I still experience tiredness.
Recently I went to a new doctor with symptoms of severe tiredness, a very sore throat, and off and on low grade fever. When she suggested testing for mono I thought it was ridiculous. I thought only teens got mono.....
The mono test (EBV Ab VCA, IgM) came back negative but the other EBV tests came back very high - EBV Nuclear Antigen AB, IgG ;EBV Ab VCA, IgG ; and EBV Early Antigen Ab, IgG . The doctor's explanation was that I had recurring mono, although I never knew I had it the first time. (Have not always gone to Dr. regularly.)
I am now 45 years old and if her diagnosis is correct, I am at least glad to know that I am not a nut case constantly complaining about being tired.

Does all this sound right to anyone??? Or should I be looking for a second opinion???
Hmmmm, those tests that were done are indicative that you have been exposed to EBV in the past, which is not surprising at all. Many many people have been exposed to it and have no ill-effects. The whole idea of recurrent mono is a little controversial, though I guess it's possible.

Fatigue is a very difficult thing to diagnose because it is such a non-specific symptom which can go along with many medical conditions, (and also non-medically related stuff) and it is rarely because of one specific thing. It's very frustrating to anyone who has recurrent fatigue because, there is an expectation (or at least a hope) that some medical test done will show a result that can be treated, but this is rarely the case. Sometimes you do find the reason (low thyroid hormone production, a chronic infection like bacterial endocarditis, an occult malignancy), but as mentioned above, more often you don't.

Another thing: this is not directed at you, it's just something in general but depression and other psychiatric issues can present with fatigue, BUT BUT BUT (a HUGE BUT) this does not mean a patient is "crazy" when the doctor suggests this. There are actual tangible, demonstrable changes which occur with brain biochemistry during things like depression, psychosis and other psychiatric conditions (but depression being the most common). The problem is, patients often feel their doctor is "calling them crazy" or saying "it's in their head", and continue to search for a diagnostic label that sounds more "medical".

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