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Glandular Fever

Is glandular fever contagious?

It is estimated that 95% of adults have been infected with EBV at some point. It can be symptomless, or present as mononucleosis ("mono"), or glandular fever.

Glandular fever is a viral infection, caused by the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV). EBV is most common in young adults and teenagers, and is also known as “mono” (infectious mononucleosis). The most marked symptom of glandular fever is severe fatigue, but it also presents with fever, very sore throat, and swollen glands in the neck.

Most of the symptoms pass within the first month, but the tiredness can last for months. There are some potential complications of the infection, which is why you should ensure you have a proper diagnosis from a doctor who can monitor your condition.

EBV is a virus, which is contagious. You can get EBV by sharing unwashed cutlery or glasses, or through exposure to coughs or sneezes, because it lives in the saliva of infected people. Glandular fever is also sometimes referred to as “the kissing disease”, as it can be spread through kissing.

Procedure

Preparing for test

Please arrive for this test well-hydrated, to make the procedure easier.

During the test

This test is a fast and simple blood test. A needle is inserted into a vein, usually on the inner arm near the elbow, and a small amount of blood is drawn. You may feel a small prick from the needle, or a scratching sensation.

Type of sample taken:

Blood

Results

Our doctor will call you to explain your results if you had your test alongside a GP consultation. If you came for the blood test only, we will email you the results and you can take them to your own doctor for interpretation, or book a consultation to come back and see one of our GPs.

FAQ

When is this test recommended?

This test will be ordered when you have symptoms that are characteristic of glandular fever, such as fever, headache, sore throat, swollen glands, and extreme fatigue, which cannot be explained any other way. This infection is more prevalent in teenagers and young adults. The doctor may also recommend this test if you have an existing autoimmune disease.

What do EBV and glandular fever have in common?

EBV, or the Epstein-Barr Virus, is the virus that causes glandular fever. The virus is present in the saliva of someone who has the infection. You can carry the virus for years without showing symptoms. Someone who has had an EBV infection as a child is more likely to develop glandular fever later in life.

Are there any links between Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) and autoimmune disease?

Yes. Research has shown a strong correlation between being infected with EBV and developing certain autoimmune diseases, lupus and multiple sclerosis (MS) in particular, and possibly some cancers. The links however are not exactly clear.

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