May 17, 2011

A kiss is just a kiss....

Epstein-Barr virus
But "kissing disease" (Epstein-Barr virus) can be that gift that keeps on giving...
I had mono my first year in University.  Sick as a dog, I was. Sicker than your average dog, in fact. What really burned my hide besides the fact that it nailed me neatly in time for exams (I slept through my biology exam) was that I HADN'T KISSED ANYONE for months before I got it. It seemed unfair.  Should have the kissing, anyway, if you're going to suffer with that stuff. It was nasty.
The next year, my dad was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Apparently it is related to Epstein-Barr viral infection, which he had had in university. He fought it, bravely, for 10 years, gradually whittling away to a pencil stick of a man who gleefully ate hot fudge sundaes while I tried to diet and then told me over and over again how wonderful they tasted. "Let me describe it to you," he'd say. "It'll be almost like the real thing." He was so thin I didn't begrudge it, and we snorted with laughter at each other, me trying to get skinny, he trying to get fatter.  But when he was diagnosed and they told him about EBV, I felt a little shudder run up my spine.
Then I get diagnosed with MS, the first in my family to do so. And as I read about the condition, I see that ol' EBV raising its ugly head again. Surely they could come up with a vaccine for this? They've managed one for chicken pox, another herpesvirus - I know vaccines for herpesviruses are challenging because of these viruses' nasty habits of hanging about forever in your nervous system (think shingles, that other herpes that we all hope never to have to explain to anyone, etc.).  But I'm beginning to think that those of us who do get really sick with EBV have pretty serious risks of developing other nasty and healthcare expensive things. Might be worth the investment.
And I'm not the only one...
Whaddya say, big pharma? Got any vaccine in that pipeline for MS prevention?
A virus similar to herpes could be a risk factor for multiple sclerosis
Publication Date: 2011-05-17

Tel: 34 958 242 071

At present, while there is no cause known for this condition, patients with MS seem to have genetic vulnerability to certain environmental factors that could trigger this condition, such as the Epstein-Barr virus. Scientists at the University of Granada have found a relation between the Epstein-Barr virus –which belongs to the herpesviruses family–and the development of this condition

The Epstein-Barr (EVB) virus –belonging to the herpesviruses family, which also includes the herpes simplex virus and the cytomegalovirus– is one of the environmental factors that might cause multiple sclerosis, a condition affecting the central nervous system, which causes are unknown. This has been confirmed by University of Granada scientists that analyzed the presence of this virus in patients with multiple sclerosis. Researchers analyzed antibody levels, that is, antibodies that are produced within the central nervous system and that could be directly involved in the development of multiple sclerosis.

Multiple sclerosis is a demyelinating condition affecting the central nervous system. Although the cause for this condition is unknown, patients with MS seem to have genetic vulnerability to certain environmental factors that could trigger this condition.

While other studies have tried to ellucidate whether infection with the Epstein-Barr virus could be considered a risk factor in multiple sclerosis, what University of Granada researchers did was conducting a meta-analysis of observational studies including cases and controls, aimed at establishing such association.

A 151-patient sample

In a sample of 76 healthy individuals and 75 patients with multiple sclerosis, researchers sought a pattern that would show an association between this virus and multiple sclerosis. Thus, they determined the presence of ant¡bodies to Epstein-Barr virus antigens synthetized within the central nervous system. Simultaneously, they identified viral DNA to measure antibody levels to EBV within the central nervous system, and the presence of EBV DNA respectively.

This piece of research was conducted by Olivia del Carmen Santiago Puertas at the Department of Microbiology, University of Granada, and coordinated by professors José Gutiérrez Fernández, Antonio Sorlózano Puerto and Óscar Fernández Fernández.

The researchers found a statistically significant association between viral infection and multiple sclerosis starting from the detection of markers that essentially indicate an infection in the past, while markers that indicate recent infection or reactivation are not relevant.

The researcher Olivia del Carmen Santiago Puertas state that, as the factors triggering this condition are still unknown “studying them is important to try to develop a prevention method”.

This study found an association between MS and some viral infection markers “but, to obtain a definitive conclusion, further research is needed with a significant number of patients that combine different microbiological techniques, where the different viral infection markers are recorded, and assessing patients’ clinical state even years before the onset of the first symptoms of multiple sclerosis”.


- Relation between Epstein-Barr virus and Multiple Sclerosis. Analytic study of scientific production. European Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. 2010.

- New Strategies and Patent Therapeutics in EBV-Associated Diseases. Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry. 2010.

Contact: Olivia del Carmen Santiago Puertas. Department of Microbiology, University of Granada. Office phone: +34 958 242 071. E-mail address:

Subject: 39;
Country: Spain;
Institution: Educational Body (School, University);
Category: Result; 
RCN: 26753
Quality Validation Date: 2011-05-17


Travelogue for the Universe said...

I had a horrible case of mono in college, no kissing. They put me on steroids to keep me on my feet. I never slept. Makes you wonder....nice post, Mary

william roy said...

good blog :) more info on the mono virus at if required