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MS is Linked to Glandular Fever, I Have No Doubt

MS is Linked to Glandular Fever, I Have No Doubt

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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  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.

    • Denise Vacco says:

      I too had mono in college. I was 21. I was diagnosed with MS at age 38. I’m now 53. I had a real bad case of mono and never quite felt the same since then. I believe it contributed to the MS diagnosis. I had symptoms for years until I was finally diagnosed.

  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.

    • Amanda Rowland says:

      I had glandular fever whilst at college diagnosis at the age of 33 as MS I am positive this lead to my ms never I have never been I’ll before this. I am glad that other people agree with me.

  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. …

        • Sandy says:

          I was very sick with pneumonia as a child. I had symptoms like numbness in my legs as a teen with running. I knew something was wrong, but never told my parents. I stopped running and all was good. Diagnosed with RRMS in my early 30s. I definitely believe getting very ill with mono or pneumonia or anything like that is the culprit causing your body to turn on itself.

  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

    • Grant Madden says:

      I have had stemcells without chemo once now.Slight improvement but now I’m considering the full chemo-stemcell system.Have heard good things.Depends on when my mothers will gets sorted at the moment.$$$$$..

  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.

  21. Morgan says:

    I had much testing/imaging/bloodwork done during my unfortunate journey of learning I had MS. YES my EBV was indeed activated during my horrible, temporarily debilitating flare that led to my diagnosis.

  22. Michael in Florida says:

    There is currently no effective treatment for epstein barr. At least scientists have finally found a treatment that has cured hepatitis c in some patients, giving hope to the countless millions who are infected with other viruses including the herpes group. The increase in autoimmune diseases, cancer, alzheimers, etc. is not a coincidence in my opinion.

  23. Ruth says:

    My story is so similar to the ones above that I can’t help identifying with them. Two bouts of mono as a teenager – long, slow progression until diagnosis of PPMS 2 years ago – I’m 70 years old – a long period of knowing something’s wrong, but….

    • Cheryl Alexander says:

      I’m not diagnosed with ms,but at age 24 had a truly severe case of mono. From then on, constant shocking fatigue and gradual neurological problems. Im now 60yrs and absolutely believe I have Ms. It’s the only answer that makes any sense.

  24. Stephanie Beck says:

    I too had mono in my early teens and was dx’d’ with MS at 19. After looking back at med records it was obvious that I had been having MS symptoms throughout my later teen years till I was dx’d. My MS went in and out of remission for years and I would always recover until I was also dx’d with psoriatic arthritis. If we treated the MS the PsA would flare and vise versa. About 5 years ago, the relapses started happening more frequently and I didn’t recover. The fatigue has knocked me off my feet. I will soon be 47 and I’ve been fighting MS for 28 years and am now using a wheelchair whenever I go out of my house and am totally dependent on a rollator walker in my house. I’m tired of fighting! The harder I fight the worse my condition gets. I’m not giving up, I’m just too tired to fight.
    What really scares me about reading Mr Franks articles is that I have a son who is 15 1/2 yo. He had a severe case of mono when he was 13 (missed 4 months of school) that he never fully bounced back from. He was dx’d with The mono in Nov and the next July, out ofno where, had a gran mail seizure that last over 10 min. When they did an MRI his ped neurologist called me to tell me that there was a “spot on his brain in an area that is typical for MS lesions”. Because he had braces there was a lot of static on the MRI so the radiologist couldn’t tell if it was a true MS lesion or not. We are waiting till he gets his braces off in a couple of months to repeat his MRI. In the meantime, he got sick this past Nov and when they tested him for mono it came back very positive. He continued to get sicker and our GP ran more lab tests and sent us to a ped immunologist. He dx’d Spenc with Chronic Epstein Barr Virus and Systemic Intolerance Deficiency Disease aka. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It has been 6 months since he got sick this time and he is still having more bad days than good. He is going to have to repeat his freshman year of HS because he was only able to finish 2 classes last semester and hopefully 1 online class this semester. Our school admin has been awesome as far as working with us but because his GP indicated that he “should” be able to go back to school, we’ve had to deal with a truency issue and we are having to make him go to school atleast 1 hr every day. I’m am so scared that when he gets his braces off and we are finally able to repeat his MRI that it’s going to show an MS lesion or lesions. He’s been through so much that I can’t fathom telling him that he’s going to have to live with MS because all he remembers about me and my MS as he was growing up was watching it quickly decline and he’s hated not being in a “normal” family without a “normal” mama. This research is very interesting to me, not for me because the damage is done but for my son whose already started to talk about having to change his dreams and his goals because of the chronic fatigue. I remember at 19, I was devastated because I had to withdraw from college and I had been accepted into the physician assistant program at Wake Forest. I felt like my life was over and I want to spare him of this heartbreak. MS is so cruel and it knows no boundaries.

  25. Linda S. says:

    I am sure too than any kind of glandular attack will trigger the multiple sclerosis. However, tonsils, mono, shingles will trigger the MS, but small vessels are the cause. When we are growing in our teens, they simply do not grow with us. so, with time, vessels become blocked or twisted trying to get blood through; killing nerves and destroying myelin. Hence, a diagnosis finally of multiple sclerosis. Get the blood flowing sooner than later, as repair at my stage will be too late. Oh well, the research is in so many directions that nothing will be quite right for most.

  26. Nan says:

    I had a lot strep throat as a child and severe sinus infections with a black turbinate I was diagnosed in 1998 with MS was on all the drugs infusions yada yada yada went to a metabolic doctor in 2016 and was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus which my metabolic doctors said that there were two types of MS one is Phibro which is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus which I tested positive for the other MS is genetic and that most women who get MS also has the Epstein bar virus I have I am on my fifth bout of shingles

  27. Veva Pocock says:

    Hi although I have always been Healthy and a positive person, I was diagnose with MS when I was 35 I’m now 54 and like all of you still living with-it, I do believe some thing must have triggered it as I cant see why you body would want to destroy itself just because, although I never suffered from sinus or throat problems Mum said she always though I was the healthiest of all the kids, so glad that you are all looking at different options on how MS has become, just because I didn’t complain of a sore throat or anything else doesn’t mean I didn’t have it, keep up the conversations like most of you have said hopefully someone will start listening to the suffers, I did find this information very interesting.

  28. Laura Gordon says:

    A neurologist at a presentation I attended last night said 95% of the population has been exposed to EPV, but 100% of those diagnosed with MS have had mononucleosis. I was diagnosed with MS at age 37. I had mono when I was 16, with a severe sore throat for about a week, and bad fatigue for only about 24 hours. Compared to others, the mono was very mild. I had to wait to go back to school because I was contagious, but I felt ready to go back within two or three days. I’m curious whether the fact I had a mild case of mono has any correlation to the fact that my MS symptoms are relatively mild? Though I do get fatigue if I don’t manage my stress levels, I have only had three actual relapses since diagnosis 14 years ago.

  29. Deborah says:

    I am in the midst of testing to diagnose what I believe to be MS. I, too, like you Ian suffered mononucleosis in my mid twenties… I have been on the hunt for answers since then. It has been a long and frustrating road. I am now 48, and I am debilitated by my illness. Over the years I have been diagnosed with a host of “diseases” which I have always referred to as symptoms- fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, IBS, and arthritis. I was tested for lupus, which came back negative. Finally, a few months ago I went to a new doctor. I did not speak of my suspicions of MS or autoimmune disease… rather I simply told her my present symptoms. The first thing she asked me? “ Have you ever been checked for MS?” Thus began my journey… now I am just days away from two MRI’s and I am hopeful of finally getting the help I need. After multiple surgeries… appendectomy and gallbladder removal among them…I need some relief. I can totally relate and I agree that mono was the start of my illness.

  30. sharlette says:

    I had glandular fever when I was 16 years old, a week after my birthday. They told me it was tonsilitus and a week later I had collapsed in my GP. I looked like shrek, lost 2 stone in weight, felt like my brain was trying to push out of my skull and my throat was closing up fast. Nearly 8 years later, I have one eye, with vision distortion and I have suffered with headaches for a number of years since, ever so more prominent now. I have recently had an MRI as my vision is different and I don’t need glasses which was odd to me. I’m hoping its nothing too serious, but right now, everything that has happened to me, all the symptoms add up to MS. I am terrified to say the least! Thank you for your interesting article.

  31. Wendy Williams says:

    MS is also linked to Salmonella in my experience. I had salmonella aged about 20 (1978) with a temp of 105 swiftly followed by anxiety and panic attacks and life took a very downward turn. So whether gut bacteria or something else I don’t know. Was treated for anxiety/depression and had every sympton of MS but didn’t realise. Took a brain scan for a sight problem and an opthalmologist to tell me that my brain was covered in lesions. Finally diagnosed as MS in about 2004 after a life of sheer hell assuming that I had a screw loose. I will be 60 this year – what a f…ing waste!

  32. Grant Madden says:

    Wow,so many,like me,have had the same basic medical history.I’m 61 and in a wheel chair most of the time now.Am considering going to Russia maybe for stem cell treatment.Sucks In have to travel when we already do stem cell treatment of cancer patients.What is the medical profession scared of?a cure maybe?Definately seems to be a link to glandular fever anyway.

  33. Linda Fitch says:

    I also had Mono as a Junior in high school and remember the terrible fatigue, headaches, depression, and not feeling ¨right¨ for years that followed. This led me down the dx search rabbit hole, and, after being diagnosed with social anxiety, having my gallbladder and appendix removed, (the old fashioned way),plus what I know believe to be unnecessary surgery to re-aline two bones in my foot due to unrelenting pain – which as since moved on to other places…..I was positively diagnosed with MS via spinal tap and subsequent MRIs. I was 44. I’m 59.

  34. Donna says:

    I also had Mono at the age of 13. I was Dx with MS in 2013. I am 57 yrs old now. I truly believe that there is a connection. I was recently Dx with Thyroiditis Hashimoto’s. since they are controlling my Thyroid with Medication a lot of my symptoms (which I thought was my MS) have gotten better. So, now I am questioning what are MS symptoms and what is thyroid symptoms. I do wish that someone can find the answers to these diseases. Please keep me notified of any new information

  35. Phillip Ware says:

    I had Glandular Fever at 19, severe enough to be hospitalised. I personally felt that I have never felt well ever since. I suffered repeatedly from lower back pain spasmodically for ten or more years. I then unfortunately suffered a serious accident. I ended up with Shingles in my broken leg, continuing pain in my back was put down to my accident. Water infection, my accident, continual haematuria, creeping numbness, falls, fractures all put down to the effects of the original accident. I was diagnosed with PPMS at 50. Thinking back I feel I could of have MS for 20-30 years.

  36. Chloe says:

    To any and all suffering. I agree with another poster on this thread to read Medical Medium and all of Anthony Williams books. He explains how MS is actually Epstein Barr and how to effectively deal with it.

  37. Susan says:

    I was diagnosed with ebv at 25. Only just been referred to a nuerologist..being tested now at 59. Dr asked if i had ever had glandular fever. Now having tests. He said to me that he is 80% sure i have m.s. feel so pissed of why it takes so long to be diagnosed. Fed up with test. At 60 does it really matter. This needs looked into properly. Reading through all the comments.

    • Cheryl Alexander says:

      Well it’s now 2019,have had all the blood tests over and over to rule out other diseases. Progressing neurological symptoms. Now many small brain lesions. Doctors won’t even take my long history of symptoms after ebv infection, seriously. I had leg spasticity and ankle clonus eg,how can I get help with a diagnosis, anyone please ?

    • Cheryl Alexander says:

      Hi Susan, I am now 61,female,and have no doubt I have a type of MS, many small lesions on brain mri were fobbed off as normal for age, but I’m given NO explanation of a lifetime of symptoms, I can certainly understand your frustration.

  38. Sarah Norkett says:

    I was diagnosed with MS in 2015 but they say I’ve had it as long as 2012. I had Glandular fever in my teens. I too believe there is a link between Glandular fever and MS.

  39. Sharlette says:

    I was 16 when I had glandular fever, my temperature had gone up to 41 degrees and the doctor told my mum that if I don’t take paracetamol, my brain would give out and my heart. 10 years later, I had my first set of symptoms, Optic neuritis, they called it clinically isolated syndrome, but told me I had an older lesion – at this time, I am waiting on second MRI results. I am almost 99.5% sure, GF/EBV triggered this condition in my body. Is it awful to wish that I could go back 11 years?

  40. Katie Lodge says:

    Hi, I’m 22 and last year had glandular fever. I have never felt right since with anxiety and depression. After going to the doctors yesterday he stated how it isn’t uncommon to feel this down after glandular fever and now I’m wondering if anyone felt the same after and what they did to help get back on track?

    Thank you.

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