Science & Tech

The virus behind ‘mono’ might trigger multiple sclerosis in some

Multiple sclerosis — an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord — may emerge after infection with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).

An estimated 90% to 95% of people catch EBV, also called human herpesvirus 4, by the time they reach adulthood, according to the clinical resource UpToDate. In children, the virus typically causes an asymptomatic or very mild infection, but in teens and young adults, EBV can cause infectious mononucleosis, better known as “mono.” Despite EBV being a commonly-caught virus, there’s evidence to suggest that infections with the virus are a risk factor for multiple sclerosis, a far less common condition. 

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