All parents are well known if not from practice, then theoretically such terms from the medical dictionary as "angina", "rubella", "chicken pox". But some have heard such a frightening name as the “Epstein Barra Virus”. In children, this disease, fortunately, is diagnosed much less frequently than chickenpox or acute respiratory infections. What is this mysterious illness - VEB?
EBV is one of 5 varieties of herpes viruses. It is distributed everywhere. The virus is named after British researchers, who managed to first detect and describe the infectious agent. In medical language, the ailment that this microorganism causes is called infectious mononucleosis.
Both adults and children suffer from mononucleosis. But, as a rule, it is diagnosed in children from 4 years to 15 years. The cunning of this infection is that in its manifestations it is similar to angina and ARVI. In young children, the disease can occur quite easily - parents and doctors do not even suspect that the herpes virus has settled in the child’s body.
If mononucleosis is not detected and an incorrect treatment is chosen, the disease may become chronic. And to cure it will be much more difficult.
How and where can children catch Epstein Barra virus?
It is safe to say that every person has repeatedly met with such a virus. Statistics show that in developed countries at least half of the population under the age of 18 is already VEB carriers! The virus travels from person to person. It is transmitted when sneezing, coughing, as his residence is nasopharynx. The largest number of particles of this virus is secreted along with saliva. That is why the infection was called the "kissing disease". Parents who often kiss their baby can share herpes virus with him. You can become infected not only by direct contact with a healthy carrier of the virus or a patient with mononucleosis. Other sources of infection are blood transfusion procedures and organ transplant surgeries.
Why can a child get infectious mononucleosis?
If Epstein's virus is in the body, then this does not mean that it will immediately make itself felt. This is impeded by immunity. VEB can safely be inside a person for many years. But as soon as the child’s immune system fails, infectious mononucleosis develops. First of all, children of one-year-old age are at risk. This is due to 2 reasons:
- they are becoming more active in contact with other children;
- Some babies at this age moms stop breastfeeding. Thus, the immunity shared by mother and baby, giving him breast milk, ceases to protect the baby from pathogens.
What symptoms should alarm parents?
The way the Epstein Barra virus will behave in children directly depends on their age. So, if the baby is less than 3 years old, the disease may be asymptomatic. In its manifestations, it will resemble the usual cold.
The duration of the incubation period for mononucleosis of infectious origin is 4-8 weeks. Then symptoms appear that are characteristic of most viral infections. This is weakness, chills, pain in the joints. The child complains of a headache, his appetite decreases. After 2-3 days (even if the parents actively treat the child for acute respiratory infections), the patient’s condition worsens and symptoms of Epstein Barra virus appear:
- sore throat;
- loss of voice (pharyngitis);
- high temperature (it can reach 40 degrees);
- abdominal pain (it provokes an enlarged spleen and liver);
- swollen lymph nodes;
- rash (as a rash characteristic of scarlet fever).
As a rule, these symptoms persist for 2 weeks. But after recovery, the child feels weak for several months.
The older the child, the more pronounced the symptoms of Epstein Barr. A typical picture of the disease is observed in adolescents.
How to distinguish mononucleosis from other infections?
Even if the parents have studied the signs of infection with these microorganisms well, they will not be able to accurately determine that the child has started an infectious mononucleosis. The most experienced pediatrician can make such a diagnosis only after laboratory blood tests are performed.
To determine at what stage the disease is, a special analysis is used to detect the presence of Epstein Barr capsid antigen. What it is? When the body detects a virus, it begins to actively deal with it. Antibodies are a weapon against a foreign biological object. Their presence in the blood and indicates that infection has entered the body. According to the type of antibodies to the Epstein Barr capsid antigen, doctors will accurately determine if the infection is acute, chronic, or the person has already had this disease. Antibodies persist for life and indicate that human immunity is familiar with such a virus.
Can mononucleosis be cured?
No matter how scary the diagnosis of the Epstein Barr virus is, treatment usually gives good results. The prognosis for children who have picked it up is, in most cases, positive. Antibiotics are not used for this disease, as they have no effect. Treatment with Epstein Barra virus is aimed at eliminating the symptoms of the disease, so the doctor will prescribe antipyretics (based on paracetamol), antiviral drugs (such as interferon), remedies for sore throat. The bed rest is shown, the child should be restrained. To remove toxins from the body, you need to drink plenty of fluids. In the patient's menu must be low-calorie, easily digestible food.
What complications can cause the disease?
The disease is quite difficult, but almost never causes serious complications. However, an unpleasant continuation of the disease is still not excluded. What are the consequences of an infection with herpes infection?
- sometimes there is a secondary bacterial complication;
- in some cases, the disease affects the central nervous system;
- the number of erythrocytes, platelets and leukocytes in the blood may decrease. A lack of red blood cells often leads to anemia;
- the most dangerous complication that can threaten not only the health, but also the life of the child - rupture of the spleen. The only consolation can be the fact that this happens very rarely.
Is it possible to save the child from such a herpes infection?
Even the most caring parents can not protect their children from infection with Epstein. The only precaution is to be less likely to be with a child in crowded places (especially during infections). You can also recommend to limit the kisses, but hardly one of the moms and dads would heed such advice.
Modern medicine has not yet invented drugs that can protect children from the Epstein Barr virus. What can parents do? It should harden the child, strengthen its immunity and never self-medicate. These simple rules will help the immature children's body to fight against any microorganisms and infections.