Optimal - The Blog

July 23, 2022

Detecting the Epstein Barr Virus

The Epstein Barr virus (EBV) is a culprit with a long rap sheet. It is convicted of causing mononucleosis, meningitis, encephalitis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, facial nerve palsies, and even sleep disorders. It can contribute to pancreatitis, myocarditis, pneumonia, and immune dysfunction. 

Infections have also been associated with lymphoma, other cancers, and autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren's, and autoimmune thyroiditis.

Measuring a variety of EBV antibodies is important to determine whether an infection is recent or has occurred in the past.

  • EBV Ab VCA, IgG: Elevation indicates an acute infection while low levels suggest no current infection, but can't rule out past infection. Levels peak 2-4 weeks following exposure.
  • EBV Ab VCA, IgM: Elevation indicates a new or recent infection while low levels rule out a current infection but not a past infection. These antibodies disappear within 4-6 weeks of infection. An elevation in VCA IgM without an elevation in EBNA antibodies means it is a new infection.
  • EBV Nuclear Antigen (EBNA) Ab, IgG: Elevation indicates a past infection while low levels indicate no history of infection but can't rule out a new infection.
  • EBV Early Antigen Ab, IgG: Elevations indicate the acute phase of EBV infection and usually disappear within 3-6 months of infection. Low levels rule out acute infection.

Want to Learn More?

CLICK HERE to learn more about EBV, health consequences, optimal ranges, etc.

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Tag(s): Biomarkers

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