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Viral Symptoms

Dr. Keyes,

I'm a 33 year old male, non-smoker and moderate drinker.  The last 2 years I had symptoms of bumps on my scalp, face and back.  In the last year, I have felt almost daily aches in my lower leftside of my abdomen.  All these symptoms have not caused too much discomfort.  This has all changed in the last month.  In addition to the previous mentioned symptoms, I have additional issues such as aches in my arm, legs, ears, soreness in my knees and headaches.  My daily discomfort has caused me to be concerned about my health.  I have not had any fever, sore throat or runny nose in the last 2 years.

I have taken numerous tests these last two years including negative results with HIV, HEP B & C, syphillis, gonorrea and chlamdyia.  My liver, pancreas, thyroid and glucose tests are normal.  The only test so far that has me concerned was the CBC.  This showed a low Neutrophils of 35% and high lymphocytes of 58%.  My absolute count on Neutrophils was low at 1.9 K/ul as well.  All other tests with the CBC were normal.  

I saw my Kaiser Permanente doctor a few days ago and she is going to consult with the Hematologist.  She wanted to refer me to Infectious Disease but I was unable to show her any externally visible medical condition.

Here's my questions:
1)  What are your suggestions on identifying what kind of viral issue I have?
2)  Are there other tests I can take to determine what viral issue I have?
3)  Is there a handful of virus's out there, or are there hundred's out there that can cause someone's condition to go undiagnosed?
4)  How do you know when a viral issue is serious or just a discomfort in your life?

Thanks in advance for your help!
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476634 tn?1207935033
Hi there,
It sounds like you have a lot of inexplicable symptoms going on, which I am sure is quite frustrating for you.  There are some specific blood tests for particular viruses (eg EBV and CMV)- but there are many viruses for which there is no particular test available.
There are numerous viruses that cause illness, and many I am sure that haven't even been identified yet.  Because many don't have specific testing, it is often difficult to link certain symptoms or diseases to them.
I think what you are doing, in as far as getting examined, having testing for possible causes of your symptoms, and following up with specialty referrals if needed is the right thing to do to determine whether it is something "serious".  Although sometimes even though nothing seems to be serious, because nothing is showing up on testing etc, it can still be serious in the affect it has on your quality of life, as I am sure you have found.
Best of luck, and please make sure to follow up with your primary care MD, and the hematologist as scheduled, as they can examine you and know your full history and situation best.

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