For Healthcare Providers

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) can cause illnesses and complications aside from infectious mononucleosis. People with weakened immune systems may develop more severe symptoms and complications from EBV infection. They may also have more severe illness caused by EBV infection.

Nervous System

EBV infection can affect a person’s brain, spinal cord, and nerves.

It can cause conditions such as—

Hematological System

EBV infection can affect a person’s blood and bone marrow. The virus can cause the body to produce an excessive number of white blood cells called lymphocytes (lymphocytosis).

EBV can also weaken the immune system, making it more difficult for the body to fight infection.

Examples of some of these conditions include—

  • Neutropenia with secondary infections
  • Hemophagocytic syndrome (hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis)
  • Acquired hypogammaglobulinemia
  • X-linked lymphoproliferative disease

Other Conditions

EBV infection can also cause—

  • Pneumonia (injury of the lungs)
  • Interstitial lung disease (a large group of disorders, most of which cause scarring of lung tissue)
  • Pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas)
  • Myocarditis (swelling of the heart muscle)
  • Oral cavity-oral hairy leukoplakia (raised, white patches on the tongue), which is usually seen in people infected with HIV

Cancers associated with EBV infection include—

Complications of EBV infection include—

  • Peritonsillar abscesses (pus-filled tissue near the tonsils)
  • Acute bacterial sinusitis (bacterial infection of the sinus cavities)
  • Suppurative lymph nodes (swelling of lymph nodes)
  • Mastoiditis (bacterial infection of the mastoid bone of the skull)
  • Sialadenitis (swelling and injury of salivary glands)
  • Blockage of the air passages in the nose and throat