What is the Connection Between Epstein-Barr and Chronic Fatigue?

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  • Written By: J.M. Willhite
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 04 October 2019
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Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), the pathogen that causes mononucleosis, is linked to the development of a serious condition known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Individuals with a history of viral mononucleosis infection have been known to develop chronic fatigue syndrome, because EBV remains in their system. Treatment for Epstein-Barr virus and chronic fatigue syndrome is non-specified at best. Generally, treatment is centered on symptom management and proactive measures to prevent a worsening of symptoms.

Individuals with Epstein-Barr and chronic fatigue syndrome generally have a history of viral infection that adversely impacts their overall immunity to infection. Complications associated with Epstein-Barr virus, including anemia, may also contribute to the development of chronic fatigue syndrome. Once an individual contracts the Epstein-Barr virus, it remains dormant in his or her system for the rest of his or her life. In times of extreme psychological or physical stress, the virus may reactivate, leading to the development of CFS. Individuals with this condition may exhibit difficulty maintaining personal and professional relationships, make pronounced lifestyle changes due to their chronic fatigue, and have acute psychological issues.


A diagnosis of Epstein-Barr and chronic fatigue syndrome is generally made following an extensive consultation and physical examination with a qualified health care provider. In order for a diagnosis of CFS to be confirmed, an individual must meet four of eight established criteria and demonstrate symptoms for at least six months. Since there is no established diagnostic test designed to detect Epstein-Barr and chronic fatigue syndrome, other conditions must be ruled out. Signs of chronic fatigue syndrome include impaired cognition, swollen lymph nodes, and extreme fatigue following minimal physical or psychological exertion.

Individuals with Epstein-Barr and chronic fatigue syndrome may demonstrate a variety of additional signs and symptoms that are not included in the established criteria for a diagnosis. Some people develop unexplained chest discomfort, stiffness upon waking, and nausea. In some cases, a symptomatic individual may experience abdominal distention, diarrhea, and chills. Impaired sensory perception, including blurred vision, and unintentional, pronounced weight fluctuations may also be indicative of Epstein-Barr virus and chronic fatigue syndrome. As the disease progresses, it is not uncommon for symptoms to become cyclical in presentation and fluctuate in severity.

There is no cure for Epstein-Barr and chronic fatigue syndrome. Symptomatic individuals must become proactive, take necessary steps to monitor their physical condition and react accordingly. There is a delicate balance between activity and rest that must be acknowledged and adhered to in order to prevent a worsening of symptoms. Over-the-counter (OTC) analgesic medications may be used to alleviate any physical discomfort that may occur. Those who develop psychological issues, such as depression and anxiety, may benefit from cognitive behavior therapy and antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications.


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Post 1

In paragraph 3 it mentions "Since there is no established diagnostic test designed to detect Epstein-Barr" this is not entirely true, or at least 15 years ago there was a test. There is a viral test to test the blood for a viral count. I had a wonderful Dr. who did this about 15 years ago. My viral count for epstein barr was over 300 and it is supposed to be under 20 (per ml. of blood I think).

my body was swarming with the virus, it was no wonder I felt so sick with chronic fatigue, and the count was when I was feeling better, I can only imagine what it was when I was really ill.

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