Preventing infections from EBV

Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) is one of the most common human viruses in the world and spreads mostly through saliva or other body fluids.

Once infected, the virus can stay in the body for the person’s lifetime. At the onset of infection, the virus goes dormant (sleeps) where it is inactive. When reactivated, it becomes a problem because it can lead to other diseases such as cancer.

Events that trigger the reactivation include stress, weak immune system, menopause or hormonal changes. The virus can be gotten by kissing an infected person, having sexual intercourse with an infected person, sharing items such as toothbrushes, utensils or cups and also touching items a child might have put in the mouth.

Some people do not show symptoms when they get infected, but others have sore throats, fatigue, fever, rashes and headache. These symptoms are common to a lot of diseases, so one needs to be tested at the hospital to know if he/she has EBV infection or not.

There are no specific drugs to kill the virus, so the symptoms are managed by drinking a lot of water, resting and taking medicines for the symptoms to stop. Infections can be avoided by not sharing utensils, toothbrushes and cups with others, having protected sex, washing hands frequently and avoiding kissing an infected person.

The virus can be gotten at an early age and so one must be careful and prevent getting the virus as it can lead to cancer.

Gloria Mensah,
University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho.
E-mail: gmensah20@sbbs.uhas.edu.gh

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