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Epstein-Barr
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Epstein-Barr



My cousin who is 39 years old has been diagnosed with Epstein-Barr.  She has had the symptoms of this virus for almost three years now.  Could you please help our family understand more about this.  The doctor says this virus runs parallel with chronic fatigue.

Her blood tests were at the highest level for Epstein-Barr when recently tested.

Could you please address the following questions:

-  How do you get this virus?

-  Does it ever go away?  If not, how do you manage it?

-  She had sinus surgery to remove a cyst well over a month ago and does not appear to be healing well.  Is her healing hampered by this virus?  In fact all her usual symptoms seemed to be intensified by the surgery ie. fatigue, fever, aching joints (fibromyalgia) etc.

-  What does the EB virus affect in your body?

-  She has had extensive dental work done over the years which is still not complete.  The dentist doesn't want to continue until she is stronger.  Could the dental work have "triggered" the virus to become active?  It doesn't seem like she had any symptoms before she was well into the dental work.

Over the last year just in general her symptoms appear to be getting worse.  Where there used to be many more good days then bad there are now just a few "fair" days at best.

On another topic I have been diaganosed with a sleep disorder associated with hypnagogic jerks.  The 1 mg. of clonazepam didn't help.  Any other suggestions?  Does the disorder ever go away?  Any information you could share on this disorder would be appreciated.

Thank you.

Shamrock

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EBV is acquired thru salivary exchange like kissing or sharing utensils and infects the B lymphocytes, a part of your immune system. It's extremely common with over 90% of people in the U.S. having antibodies to it, meaning most of us have been exposed to it sometime throughout our lives manifesting it as colds. However, a certain percantage of people actually get truly sick from it like in the case where it causes mononucleosis, nicknamed the kissing disease that is prevalent among college students.  The acute infection should go away with time, but you always harbor antibodies and rarely some people can get recurrence. There is no specific treatment for it, just rest and supportive therapies.  There are some patients who have very high levels of antibodies to EBV and suffer what is termed chronic fatigue syndrome. I would not be surprised if any major medical intervention such as surgery or even minor things like dental procedure could spark a flare-up.

As for you, the Klonopin could be pushed up to 2mg before giving up on it. Hypnic jerks are made worse with fatigue, stress, and sleep deprivation so try your best to modify any of these risk factors. It has been mentioned in the literature that these jerks can be lifelong. Consider going to a sleep clinic to get formally evaluated. Best of luck
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