Jan 20 2009

How long is Epstein Barr virus (mononucleosis or glandular fever) contagious for?

Published by at 11:47 pm under Uncategorized

The Epstein Barr virus that causes glandular fever or mono, is shed from the throat and contagious during the illness and up to a year after the infection. The virus can become dormant and later reactivate and be shed from the throat again. Symptoms of the illness may not always be apparent. In fact many healthy people can carry and spread the virus intermittently for life. It is believed that these people are the main reservoir for person to person transmission of the virus.

Apart from through kissing, saliva can transmit the virus by people sharing drinking glasses, eating utensils, towels or toys. Mononucleosis can be transmitted from mouth to hand so washing hands well is important. Though good personal hygiene makes sense, the Epstein Barr virus is everywhere, and exposure to it cannot be avoided entirely.

The virus is also found in mucous and can be transmitted through coughing or sneezing.

It is not as easily spread as the common cold or flu virus since the virus is very fragile and cannot survive for long out of the human body. For this reason outbreaks of mononucleosis are rare – they occur sporadically throughout the year.

The Epstein Barr virus can also be transmitted by blood via a needle or blood transfusion. For this reason it is important that you do not donate blood for at least 6 months after the onset of symptoms.

Symptoms of mononucleosis appear 30 – 50 days after exposure to the virus, although some people are infected with the virus for weeks or months before any symptoms begin to appear.

If you have been diagnosed with Epstein Barr it is important to rest your body, drink plenty of pure water and support your immune system with vitamins, minerals, herbs, an immune-boosting diet and lifestyle improvements. These natural treatments for Epstein Barr are discussed in detail in the e-book “Nature’s Amazing Mononucleosis Cures” by naturopath Elizabeth Noble.

53 responses so far

53 Responses to “How long is Epstein Barr virus (mononucleosis or glandular fever) contagious for?”

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Christina,

    Thanks for your post. Sorry you have been struggling with a persistent yeast infection and EBV. It is possible the yeast infection has lowered your immunity to the point where secondary infections like EBV can take hold. I think your best approach is to starve the yeast with a high protein, low carb diet which is free of grains, sugars, alcohol and starchy vegetables. The addition of some herbs like Pau d’arco, citrus seed extract and garlic can help the killing of the yeast. When you have finished the bowel cleanse you need to replenish the good gastrointestinal flora with some probiotics like acidophillus and bifido bacteria. Keep on your supplements – the most important ones are zinc, the B complex, vitamin C and the omega 3 fats.

    I hope this helps.


  2. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Ryan,
    Thanks for your update. Yes that is correct – EBV can trigger other conditions like lymphoma, MS etc in very rare cases. These conditions don’t trigger EBV.

    Normally mono is diagnosed when the 4 classic symptoms of sore throat, swollen glands, fever and fatigue are present. If you only have the swollen glands then most doctors say you
    just have re-activated EBV. Some patients do just exhibit one or two symptoms with re-activated EBV.

    Hope this helps.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Kat,
    Thanks for your post. There are a variety of Epstein Barr antibody tests to see what stage of the illness you are experiencing – acute, chronic or re-activated. If you have had mono whilst in college then you will always have some of these antibodies like the VCA-IgG present in the blood. The mono spot test looks for Heterophile IgM antibodies which indicate a current EBV infection.

    If you are suffering from fatigue, chills, fever and myalgia, I would recommend you get some time off work to recover. The use of magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc and fish oils may help alleviate your symptoms. Epsom salt baths before bed (2 cups to a hot bath) may help the myalgia. The virus can be shed from the throat for several weeks after infection so I would get your doctor’s opinion about when to return to work.

    Best Wishes


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