The mono virus – commonly known as the ‘kissing disease’ – raise the risks of at least seven diseases, by sticking to human DNA, according to new breakthrough research
Between 80 and 95 percent of Americans get mono over their lifetime, which may raise their risks for immune-related diseases like lupus, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, diabetes, celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease.
Of those who got lupus in childhood, nearly 100 percent had had mono when they were young, according previous work by the Cincinnati Children's Hospital researchers
Typically, the virus only sickens people once, but the new research sheds light on how its lingering effects on the genome may help give rise to chronic diseases later in life.
Mono is marked by swollen glands and typically dismissed as a common childhood illness, but new research suggests the virus can raise risks of seven diseases for some who get it young
Modern medical research has unveiled risk factors and mechanisms that underlie many of the major chronic diseases that sicken and strike people down over the course of their lives.
But an incomplete understanding of what happens to make some vulnerable to these illnesses remains a roadblock to the development effective treatments and preventative measures.
Categorically, autoimmune diseases - which cause the body to attack itself – are particularly mysterious, and, as it becomes more common, scientists are continuously digging deeper to discover what genetic and environmental factors might underlie the disease.
Now, it appears that a common virus may trigger some instances of lupus – and alter DNA in a way that facilitates the onset of other diseases as well.
The mono virus – or glandular fever, an illness caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) – is exceedingly common and can cause extreme fatigue, achiness, a sore throat and headache and is most classically identifiable by swollen lymph nodes and sometimes by a rash.
Many who get the virus will never show any signs or symptoms, and those that do get ill will probably only feel the virus’s effects once in their lives.
But regardless, once the virus enters someone’s symptoms – typically through saliva, hence its nickname – EBV is there for life.
In previous research, the new study’s lead author, Dr John Harley, had found that the vast majority of people who had developed lupus during childhood had had mono early in life too.
Of all people who carry the mono virus in the US, more than 90