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Virus Affecting Nervous System?
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Virus Affecting Nervous System?


  Hi,
  Happy holidays to all of you!
  My question regards the possibility of a viral infection affecting my
  nervous system. My neurologist has suggested the possiblity twice
  following many evaluations and tests that have come back negative.
  (Tests have been: MRI, nerve conduct. test, visual evoked potentials,
  lumbar punct., and blood work - all neg.)
  My symptoms have gradually worsened over the course of almost 3 years.
  They include: numbness, blurred vision, pin ***** sensations and burning,
  frequent twitching and moving of muscles, sensation of weakness in right arm
  and leg, heartbeat irregularities, and cognitive problems. My right leg feels
  awkward and it is affecting my walk slightly. The most disturbing symptoms
  involve my muscles and have worsened very much lately. My muscles in my
  upper arms, neck and legs feel hard and are very sore.
  They have an exaggerated response to normal exercise - 24 hours after excercise
  they are extrememly sore, much more than normal. All symptoms are about
  two times worse on the right than on the left. I have no fevers or
  swollen glands.
  My husband was just recovering from a bad case of Epstein Barre virus when
  we married 5 years ago, and I have been wondering about the possibility
  that it may be at the root of my problems.
  Question 1) Would it be possible to have caught this from my husband, and
  would it manifest this way? (his symptoms were very different)
  Question 2) If this is a virus, are there tests to determine that it is?
  Question 3) Do my symptoms bring to mind any other possibilities I could
  pursue?
  Three years is a long time to go without an answer, and at times it is a
  little frightening. I appreciate you being available to all of us.
  Thanks so much,
  Christy
Dear Christy:
Sorry to hear about all your problems.  To be truthful, most of us have already been infected with the Epstein Barr virus (did you ever have mono as a teenager?, that is the same virus).  But the answer to your first question, is sure you could have been infected by the Epstein Barr virus that your husband had.  Could it be the root of all your problems, yes it could.  If your physician did an Epstein Barr virus antibody (IgM,IgG level) that would help.  But most likely it is not the cause, but you can never say never.  Post viral syndrome is usually not this delayed in time with respect to the initial infection.  The tests to prove whether a virus is the cause, would be white counts, antibodies against the specific virus, maybe a spinal tap to look at the same things in the CSF etc.  Christy, frankly there are a myraid of things that could produce similar symptoms.  Since all your test thus far have been negative (that is a very good thing, I know that doesn't help your symptoms) I think that maybe a second opinion to further examine you (by a good neurologist) and also another pair of eyes to go over the data already gathered.  Not knowing what lab test have already been performed wouldn't allow a substitute diagnosis to go after.  I would get a second opinion.  Best of luck, and I hope you find an answer to your problems.
Sincerely,
CCF Neuro[P] MD, RPS  




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