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In my mind, MS is linked to glandular fever. From personal experience, there is no room for doubt of any kind.

Trouble is, though, that my experience and belief is not proof. And that is why I find that efforts to establish a definite link between glandular fever, often known as the kissing disease, and MS is an exciting area of research.

So, you can just imagine my delight in seeing that research into this is now in its second year of a two-year project in Australia.

Early last year, MS Research Australia awarded a $150,000 grant to support a project being conducted at Murdoch University, as was reported in Multiple Sclerosis News Today in March 2015.1 The project is aiming to expand scientific knowledge about the possibility or probability that MS is linked to glandular fever and the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV).

shutterstock_350858348EBV is known to cause glandular fever, otherwise known as infectious mononucleosis.2

The research grant was awarded to David Nolan, an adjunct associate professor at the Institute of Immunology and Infectious Diseases (IIID), and is funding two years of investigation.

Research is focusing on MS and the infectious condition known as glandular fever following encouraging results on the link between MS development and viral infections.

My personal interest in this research is because I firmly believe that glandular fever did trigger MS in me.

Let me explain. When I was finally diagnosed with MS in 2002, I was 49 years old. However, the neurologist who gave me the news said that he had gone back through my medical records and found evidence of MS existing as long ago as my 20s. Early to mid-20s to be exact.

Remarkable ‘coincidence’

Thinking nothing of it at the time, not then being aware of any possible link, I had glandular fever at the age of 21, almost 22, and evidence of MS in my early to mid-20s. Isn’t that a remarkable coincidence? If you believe in coincidences, that is!

A clinical link may not be scientifically proven in my case but, if you were me, would you need any further proof? I most certainly don’t!

Now I am waiting to see what the Murdoch University investigation proves.

As previously reported in Multiple Sclerosis News Today, Prof. Nolan spoke about the research. He said: “It appears that there is a strong association between the Epstein-Barr virus and MS but it’s too early to say if it is the cause.

“We know that the Epstein-Barr virus specifically infects immune cells that produce antibodies, B cells, essentially hiding away within the immune system. For reasons that are still poorly understood, it seems that those affected by MS have an abnormal response to this virus and that the nervous system might be unintentionally targeted by the immune system as part of this response.”

Nolan and his research team are searching for infected B cells while attempting to develop a targeted treatment to address them. The main purpose of the project is to find a way to stop disease progression through novel therapeutic approaches that can address the underlying mechanisms of the disease.

During these two years, researchers are focusing on Epstein-Barr virus infected cells. “The research funding gives us a chance to make a real step forward in understanding the basis of Multiple Sclerosis and therefore improving both disease monitoring and treatment,” added Dr. Nolan.

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this blog article are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Multiple Sclerosis.


1 MS Research Australia Funds Project on MS and Epstein-Barr Virus, MS News Today.

2 Patient – Trusted medical information and support and many other sources.

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Ian Franks is Managing Editor of the Columns division of BioNews Services. He has enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor, in the print media; during which he gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. He was diagnosed with MS in 2002 but continued working until mobility problems forced him to retire early in late 2006. He now lives in the south of Spain and uses his skills to write his own flourishing specialist MS, Health & Disability blog at Besides MS, Ian is also able to write about both epilepsy and cardiovascular matters from a patient’s perspective and is a keen advocate on mobility and accessibility issues.
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  1. Todd Jones says:

    Ian, thanks for this article. Exactly like you, my wife was diagnosed with MS at 49 years old (last year) and she also had EBV early in life, during her high school years. The neurologist also noticed very old spots on the MRI. Our current GP tested her to see if EBV was active in her system, but it wasn’t at the time of the main vision attack last year. I agree with you, this seems be more than a coincidence. Please keep me posted as these findings develop.

  2. Kimberly says:

    This is my theory behind my MS diagnosis also. I truly have no other “risk factors” for this disease. I had mononucleosis as a junior in high school and firmly believe that is the trigger for my development of MS. I am excited to hear the results of this research. Thanks for your article.

      • jim minehan says:

        OMG…My pathway to a diagnosis of relapsing M/S in 1965 was ALSO a clone of these circumstances.

        Why is it that NOBODY takes our personal anecdotal observations seriously?? I can guaranty to the medical community that folks living with M/S know their own bodily anomalies WAY better than any doctor! In 1986 my disease morphed into the Secondary Progressive phase…so once again…there is no real effective treatment or relief for my progressive decline.

        Perhaps, if Modern Medicine would only take a LISTEN to its victims, an effective way to eradicate M/S might be achieved.

  3. Mascha Brautigam says:

    I believe this too. I had glandular fever in my early teens and by the age 17 got my late 20’s early 30’s I had lots of symptoms and by the age 41 was attacked with optic neurotis and diagnosed with MS.They told me I had it for 20 yrs or so.My lesions in my brain were not active until my official attack in 2012. They told me I had many lesions.

  4. Bonnie says:

    See dr. John Lindsey MS research houston TX. On epstien bare from UT research.

    This was from his personal website to keep his patients informed. You can start here.

    Had infectious mono also, plus 13+mercury amalgams. They are gone now. But damage done.

    May be an Avenue to deal with in future.

  5. Robin J Montgomery says:

    I must say, I had mononucleosis as a child so many times. My father was in the Marines and I think the Dr’s weren’t so quick to remove my tonsils . I eventually stopped having infection, strep throat. Sounds interesting!!

  6. Robin J Montgomery says:

    I had mononucleosis several times as a child.1 MS symptoms started as a young child (numbness in leg) Then symptoms started at 27 yrs old for a month. Then again at 35 yrs old.

  7. Joseph L says:

    I believe I may have had mono in junior high? I just remember being extremely tired, to the point I was bed ridden for a few days. I rarely went to the doctor, being a stubborn male, I still rarely go or take medicine. It took almost a decade to be diagnosed. I had shingles in my mid 30’s, eye problems later and then again, and that’s when I was diagnosed in my mid 40’s. I’m native American/Mexican and a male, live in CA so I’m not a normal recipient. I do wonder how it was that I got this horrible disease, clues like this may help us figure out the cause. Scary thing is that mono is highly contagious and has no real cure itself, you have to let it run it’s course.

  8. Kyle says:

    Had a severe sinus infection and did two rounds of antibiotics. A month or two later had my first symptoms (numbness in feet and L’metts syndrome). One month later….MS.

  9. Casey Richardson says:

    I too had mononucleosis as a teen and have struggled with fatigue and finally at age 36 was diagnosed with CIS then MS after they found the 4 lesions that had been there. I always thought there was a connection with this!

  10. Kym says:

    I also had Mono when I was a teen. First MS symptoms showed up at 27 when I was pregnant with my second child. I have always believed the Epstein Barr virus was responsible. No one else in my family has MS. I’m almost 59 now, and still fighting this fight. Good luck to everyone.

  11. Key says:

    Anthony William book Medical Medium covers many explanations for many diseases. Including MS and guess what – ms caused by EBV. It’s mind blowing. But best of all he gives explanation on how to get rid of the horrid EBV. He explains that there are 4 stages to EBV. I would very highly recommend the book.

  12. Anne Ballis says:

    For over 40 years I have said I know in my 20’s it felt like I had the Epostein Based Virus. That was age 25. Nobody listened until 2013 and U tested positive for it. I had all the signs if MS since I was a child and my Mother thought I had polio. All my life the symptoms played hide and go seek until MS bulldozed at age 50 and I was finally diagnosed that winter with Relapsing Remitting MS! Today at 64, I find out my body may no longer be responding to Avonex after all these years! This feels like when I was finally diagnosed: numb, angry, fearful and tge warrior in me has my sword ready for a new battle, only this time I am so fatigued, can hardly walk and have to do another infusion because I am noit recovering from the last one. I want to Believe it’s Mind over Matter……

    • Debra Guerra says:

      That’s a hard blow. So sucks. Diagnosed 4/01/2016, 59, symptoms started in 30s. I declined while taking Copaxone & Techfidera. Good buzz on Lemtrada. Check out Lemtrada Facebook page. Remarkable results. Seeking neurologist to prescribe. Frustrated I must get permission from doctors who hvn’t been helpful. You are strong. Hard part is facing disappointment anew. Sounds like progression is slow. As we age our peers will be facing physical challenges we’ve become adjusted to facing. New & better treatments coming – hang tough.

  13. Carol Vale says:

    I had mononucleosis while I was in junior high and then again in college (although they told me you can’t get it twice).I was diagnosed with MS when I was 62, seven years ago.Yes, that’s old for MS, but apparently I’ve had some symptoms for many, many years. I am convinced mono is the culprit.

  14. Clare Finkel says:

    Now I’m scared. I have MS. My very active daughter had glandular fever about 20 years ago when she was a teenager. I wonder what the chances are that she will be diagnosed with MS when she is 49.. One of my brothers also had MS and an aunt as well…

      • Clare Finkel says:

        Thanks.. I guess that is all that anyone can do. BTW, my brother and I had Scarlet Fever as children. He was diagnosed with an aggressive form in his 30s, while mine is relatively mild diagnosed at age 63. At age 72, mine’s picking up a bit or is it arthritis or just plain getting older. …

  15. Ann klitgaard says:

    Hi i had the kissing flu as they call it in Denmark and after running to the doctor for the last 16 year I got a attack that paraliced my face and they found out what was wrong at the hospital . I would like some information if you were to move to the south of Spain good terrapists/doktors . And good places to live .

  16. Marie-eve Pelletier says:

    I believe that also. Had EBV at 14 and started having ms symptoms at 18. Was diagnossied with ms at 24.

  17. Linda Paganuzzi says:

    I too had glandular fever aged 15. I remember being told that most patients recover fully within a couple of weeks but I was ill for so long that I had to repeat a year of schooling. I was diagnosed with MS aged 37. Now I’d be particularly interested to hear whether any link exists because my sister-in-law also had the Eppstein-Barr virus at high school. She lost her mother to MS complications. She’s worried that she has 2 markers but more so that she and my brother have 2 lovely children. Any research into the Eppstein-Barr/MS link or familial links would be of particular interest to us.

  18. Linda S. says:

    I had tonsils out when I was 10, appendix when I was 12,(Mono was going around during these times) collapsed in the doctors office when I was 22,lost vision and regained it when I was about 38, diagnosed at with MS at 38 and told I had many lesions so had had it since early 20s. I then took Avonex for 9 years which helped ??? for about 3 years. I have crippled slowly over the years as I am 62 now and mostly in a wheelchair. I had Liberation Treatment done in India in 2010 and improved with slowed MS progression,less pain and return of my speech. This has lasted because of the way it was done! I went for stem cells (not the sort with chemo) in 2015 and await some results. Presently I take zero drugs and until they come up with something with less side effects and for progressive MS, this is how it will remain.
    Linda S. Canada

  19. Sandra Browman says:

    Had mono when I was 18. Was 2 weeks in quarantine. My throat swallowed so much that I got scared of myself when I looked in the mirror. I remember the high fever etc. Was diagnosed with MS at age 43. At this point, ten years later I have secondary MS, and I’m not taking any medication. Will be waiting for the results of this study.

  20. Jason Wimpenny says:

    Your story mirrors mine. I had a unusually severe case of glandular fever my immune system had a extreme reaction to it i was hopitalised for a few weeks.
    This was at 19 approximately 4 months after was first time i reported a ms symptom (l’hermite sign)
    Was not diagnosed till 42 after i woke
    Up compleatly blind in one eye and lost a portion of sight in the other.

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