Epstein–Barr virus facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsHuman gammaherpesvirus 4
|Electron micrograph of two Epstein–Barr virions (viral particles) showing round capsids loosely surrounded by the membrane envelope|
Human gammaherpesvirus 4
The Epstein–Barr virus (EBV), also called human herpesvirus 4 (HHV-4), is one of eight viruses in the herpes family. It is one of the most common viruses in humans.
EBV is best known as the cause of infectious mononucleosis (glandular fever). It is also associated with some forms of cancer, such as Hodgkin's lymphoma, and conditions associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). EBV may be associated with a higher risk of certain autoimmune diseases. Some 200,000 cancer cases per year may be caused by (or associated with) EBV.
Most people become infected with EBV and gain adaptive immunity. In the United States, about half of all five-year-old children and about 90 percent of adults have evidence of previous infection. Infants become susceptible to EBV as soon as maternal antibody protection disappears. Many children become infected with EBV, and these infections usually cause no symptoms or are just mild, brief illnesses of childhood. In the United States and other developed countries, many people are not infected with EBV in their childhood years. When infection with EBV occurs during adolescence, it causes glandular fever 35 to 50 percent of the time.
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Epstein–Barr virus Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.