How are Epstein-Barr virus infection and multiple sclerosis linked?

Research conducted in the United Kingdom strengthens the hypothesis that the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) plays a role in MS. Researchers at Queen Mary University of London examined the post-mortem brains of people who had multiple sclerosis (MS) and found that even though the virus was latent, it had been sending out chemical signals in the form of RNA.

Those signals caused inflammation and turned on the immune system leading to the symptoms of MS, the researchers reported. Previous research has not successfully shown the connection, but that may be due to the fact that the virus hides in immune system cells when not replicating.

While more studies need to be conducted, researchers are optimistic that learning more will lead to better MS treatments.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

There are a few things that link the multiple sclerosis (MS) to Epstein-Barr virus (EB) infections.

• Nearly everyone with MS tests positive for EBV

• People clear of the virus don't get the disease

• High levels of EBV antibodies precede MS symptoms and flare-ups

• Infectious mononucleosis doubles the risk for MS

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Continue Learning about Viral Infections

Viral Infections

Viral Infections

Viral infections like herpes simplex, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), chicken pox and rotavirus are infections caused by a virus instead of a bacterium. Viral infections do not respond to antibiotics, but some specific viruses ...

like influenza A and B can be treated with certain antiviral medications. Most commonly, treatment for viral infections includes drinking lots of fluids, getting rest, eating well and letting the illness run its course.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.