I received a phone call from my doctor's office today. Results of a recent blood test show that I am positive for Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) IgM antibodies. This shouldn't be possible since I have already had EBV in the past.
EBV is a common viral infection which almost 95% of the population has had but, for unknown reasons, it becomes chronic in a tiny portion of the population. Over the years, research into ME has at various times focused on EBV only to lose interest and move on to other subjects. It may be that EBV infections are part of the cause for some ME patients and not for others.
IgM antibodies are the first antibodies to respond to an infection. They give way to IgG antibodies after a few days or weeks. If the person is ever exposed to the same virus again, the body would not produce IgM antibodies the second time.
Right now, I'm looking at my lab results from the year 2005. They show as positive for an EBV infection, both IgM and IgG. I was experiencing mononucleosis symptoms at the time, so these results from 2005 may indicate my first exposure to EBV.
I was tested for EBV again right after I came down with ME in 2011 (before any diagnosis), and the results showed negative for IgM, positive IgG—consistent with past infection. Nothing surprising there. It was tested again two times after diagnosis, in 2012 and 2014, but only IgG and IgA were tested. Both times IgG was of course positive, and IgA was negative.
So this latest test result shouldn't be possible, as far as I know. I called and moved up to doctor's appointment to Monday because I am puzzled and a little concerned. It's possible this is merely a lab error, but then again, maybe not. Maybe its time to go back on an antiviral medication such as Valacyclovir?