Infections

Expert reports about Infections


INFORMATION FOR WOMEN WHO HAVE EPSTEIN–BARR VIRUS-INDUCED MONONUCLEOSIS WHILE PREGNANT OR BREASTFEEDING

 

What is Epstein–Barr virus infection?

Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) is a virus that commonly infects people of all ages; in fact it is estimated to be present in as much as 90 percent of the human population. In some people, typically people in their teens and early 20s, EBV can strike as an acute (powerful, short-term) infection that shows up as a disease called mononucleosis, commonly known as “mono”.  The name of the condition comes from the fact that the infected people have an increase in the number of blood lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that has only one nucleus (mononuclear), compared with other blood cells. Lymphocytes are also present in lymph nodes, where they the dominant kind of white blood cell, and mononucleosis is characterized by swollen nodes, particularly in the neck, where there is also a sore throat. Along with this there are flu-like symptoms, such as headache, fatigue, muscle pains, and swelling in other parts of the body, such as the spleen. Sometimes, there is also a rash. EBV-induced mononucleosis is notorious as “the kissing disease”, because it spreads easily through saliva, but you can get the infection from minimal contact, and are susceptible when your immunity is weak, such as when you are pregnant.


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