Definitions

epstein barr virus

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)

Virus of the Herpesviridae family that is the major cause of acute infectious mononucleosis. The virus, named for two of its discoverers, infects only salivary gland cells and one type of white blood cell. Saliva is the only bodily fluid that has been proved to contain infectious EBV particles. In less-developed nations, infection with EBV occurs in almost all children before the age of 5 and is not associated with recognizable symptoms. When EBV infection is delayed until the teen or early adult years, the body commonly responds differently, resulting in mononucleosis. Other, rarer disorders have also been linked with EBV, including certain cancers. There are no specific treatments for any form of EBV infection, and no vaccines have been developed.

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