EBV Is The Possible Cause Of Fibromyalgia, Research

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It’s estimated that 9 in 10 adults have been infected with Epstein-Barr virus at some point in their lives. For most people, the virus doesn’t cause any serious symptoms. Odds are good that if you were infected with it at some point, you actually had no idea at the time.

But for some, the virus can be much more serious and lead to recurrent symptoms for years. People with fibromyalgia seem to be especially vulnerable to the virus, and it may actually explain some of those strange symptoms that people with the condition often report.

Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)

Epstein-Barr is the virus that causes mononucleosis. You might know this disease better by its nickname, “mono.” It’s also called the “kissing disease” because of one way you can spread it to someone else. Even though Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) isn’t a household name, you’ve probably been infected without knowing it. Lots of people carry the virus but don’t get sick.

According to research published in Journal of Neurology and Neuroscience says that EBV is the possible cause of fibromyalgia.

EBV is a nasty bug. It’s best known for causing infectious mononucleosis, which is frequently called mono or the “kissing disease.” Symptoms of mono include:

Recovery from mono is known to take a long time, and recurrences are marked by extreme fatigue.


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Abstract of Research:

“Fibromyalgia (FM) is characterized by chronic widespread pain lasting for a minimum of three months, and pain at mechanical pressure in at least 11 of the 18 tender points. The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. Several hypotheses have been developed including “central sensitization“. This theory proposes that fibromyalgia patients have a lower threshold for pain because of increased reactivity of painsensitive neurons in the spinal cord or brain. Some researchers supposed that different neurotransmitters (serotonin, catecholamine) could be involved in the pathophysiology of fibromyalgia-associated symptoms. The connection of FM to different viral infections has been proposed. Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) has been considered a possible cause of FM because of similarity of symptoms, but so far, the connection has not been proven. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of antibodies (Abs) IgM and IgG against EBV, and respectively the presence of a viral infection in a group of patients with FM. We also analysed the association between the titter of the antiviral antibodies, some neurotransmitters (serotonin, noradrenaline and adrenaline) and different clinical symptoms. The obtained results revealed that high EBV IgG concentrations in the serum of patients with FM correlated with pain intensity and associated clinical symptoms. This is consistent with the fact that FM is connected to the immune response to certain infectious agents (e.g. EBV, CMV).” -published in Journal of Neurology and Neuroscience.

Epstein Barr virus cause or contribute to the symptoms of a large percentage of patients with FM. As stated previously, the presence of active infections correlate with an elevated IgG antibody, despite the lack of IgM antibodies. This infection is generally not acute but rather intracellular reactivation of an old infection; an elevation of IgM antibodies is typically not seen with active infection of EBV.

Fatigue, an additional symptom, is likewise common to both FM and viral infections. It is not surprising therefore that early research on both FM and the related syndrome of chronic fatigue attempted to identify evidence of infection with pathogens such as EBV among these patients.

One observation by Moldofsky concern the effect of acute viral infection on development of sleep disorders considered to be harbingers of FM. Recent publications have discussed the capacity of early non-structural EBV-encoded protein to cause immune dysregulation as well as instigating clinical symptoms such as fatigue.

Connection of Fibromyalgia with Infectious Mononucleosis

Infectious mononucleosis is an acute infection caused by Epstein-Barr virus. This condition includes an increase in the mononuclear white blood cells associated with splenomegaly, generalized lymphadenopathy and hepatitis. Glandular fever is also known as kissing disease. Epstein Barr virus can cause infection in the childhood which leads to the development of glandular fever later on. EBV is contagious. While kissing, coughing and sneezing it can be transmitted from one person to another as it is found in the mucus and saliva.

Symptoms of fibromyalgia associated with glandular fever

If you experience jaundice, malaise, nausea along with it, then just don’t waste your time. Get your treatment done straight away. All the time you will feel exhausted and your hips, shoulders and neck will ache. You will lose your appetite and will feel difficult to sleep.  

Swelling around your eyes and loss of appetite are must to notice signs. If your muscles hurt badly on and off then it is a sign that your fibromyalgia is flaring up. Headache, depression and anxiety are some other signs that show the association of fibromyalgia with glandular fever.


Gradually returning to the normal daily life activities after some bed is recommended by the doctors. Stay hydrated. Take sips of water or juices after every two hours to prevent dehydration. Avoid all the exhausting exercises like jumping, running and swimming. Stay from aspirin as aspirin can leads to rye syndrome. gargle daily to treat sore throat. Whenever you are feeling low close your eyes and take deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly.

This measure will exhale out all your worries and soon you will be pain free. Sugar consumption should be decreased as it can reduce lymphocyte activity. Soup are best for you but without preservatives. Have small nutritious meals instead of heavy meals. Fruits and vegetables loaded with zinc and vitamin C works best for you.

Raw honey should be used instead of sugar. To protect yourself, stay away from the person having fibromyalgia associated with glandular fever. Used crockery should be washed before using them again. Prevention is better than cure. Antiviral drugs can also be used.

Related Article: Can an Infection Trigger Fibromyalgia?

Other Diseases Caused by EBV

EBV is best known for causing mononucleosis, but less often it can lead to other diseases, including:

  • Ear infections and diarrhea in children.
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Certain cancers, including Burkitt’s lymphoma and cancers of the nose and throat
  • Studies also show a link between EBV and multiple sclerosis (MS), but more research is needed to determine if the virus can lead to MS.


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Connection of Fibromyalgia with Infectious Mononucleosis by Dr MG Rana,Md via Fibromyalgia Resources

Research Reference: Reshkova V, Kalinova D, Milanov I. Evaluation of Antiviral Antibodies against Epstein-Barr Virus and Neurotransmitters in Patients with Fibromyalgia. J Neurol Neurosci. 2016, 6:3. doi: 10.21767/2171-6625.100035. 

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