Epstein-Barr Virus, or EBV for short, is a member of the herpesvirus family. Most people are infec...
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Epstein-Barr Virus, or EBV for short, is a member of the herpesvirus family. Most people are infected with EBV at some point. In childhood, these infections often cause no symptoms. In adults, EBV has been implicated in numerous autoimmune diseases and cancer. Up to half the EBV infections that occur during adolescence or early adulthood cause infectious mononucleosis, sometimes called mono. Mono is spread primarily through saliva. A person can also spread it by coughing or sneezing, spreading droplets of infected saliva or mucus, which others can inhale. The virus enters cells in the area of the upper throat that lies behind the nose, called the nasopharynx. It takes over the host cell's nuclear material to replicate more viral particles. These particles are released and spread to other parts of the body, and into the bloodstream, where they infect immune cells called B-lymphocytes. Inside the B cells, the viral genome changes shape. It persists in an inactive state and is passed on to new B cells. It also protects the invaded cell from chemicals released by T cells, while healthy B cells are destroyed.