Family, Internal Medicine, General Medical Questions/EBV


QUESTION: Is epstein barr virus routinely tested and can someone continue working in a restaurant if they develop mono? I read EBV has shown to increase the likelihood of two rare forms of cancer. Are those cancers very treatable? Do most people have EBV in their body by age 25 seeing that it is quite common? And lastly is there anything in the herpes family that has a cure?

ANSWER: EBV (Epstein barr virus) is not normally tested for......    we occasionally test for mono with a quick easy test ... the mono test (mononucleosis) if we suspect a sore throat is from mono.   The EBV viral studies are expensive and slow to come back and usually are reserved for looking at people with symptoms that are longlasting and difficult to classify.     It is not a super contagious disease, so does not pose a big public health problem.

We miss a lot of mono because we don't test much for it, but the vast majority of people that get it are sick then get better with out sequelae.  

Most people do not get mono, but it is not rare.    There are no cures, which is the case for most viral illnesses.    The major research goes into prevention for virus' thru immunization.   

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: EBV isn't very contagious? I've read 95% of all people past forty have it in their body already.

from the standpoint of getting an illness that causes significant disability.... it isn't contagious but from a standpoint of getting exposed to it over a lifetime, it is.  

If someone is very sick acutely with the illness, that is usually a very small percentage of the total exposures.... most people with it never knew they had it in the first place.     

It is not worth testing for, unless you suspect that someone's bad symptoms are a result of one of the bad infections.....

Family, Internal Medicine, General Medical Questions

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Robert Borucki


I am an expert in Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine.


I am trained and boarded in Family Medicine and have also worked extensively in emergency medicine for over 10 years.

BA in Natural Sciences; MD in 1986\borucki

©2017 All rights reserved.