Feel Like You Can’t Talk? (EBV Can Cause Chronic Laryngitis)

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Certain viruses or bacteria can infect the larynx and cause it to swell.University of Maryland Medical Center (1)

The Epstein Barr Virus (EBV), known for causing infectious mononucleosis, can also cause Laryngitis, which is “an inflammation of the voice box, or larynx. Laryngitis can be short-term or long-lasting (chronic). Chronic symptoms are those that last 2 weeks or longer (2),” according to WebMD on a page last updated on December 28, 2010.

The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a member of the herpes virus family, is found throughout the world. Studies show that up to 95% of all adults have antibodies against this common virus, meaning that they were infected at some point in their lives.

Even mild or non-life-threatening infection with EBV can, occasionally, be associated with the development of serious complications from the infection.

vocal chords


Although the virus typically targets lymphocytes, a particular blood cell involved in the immune response, almost all organs systems can ultimately be affected by EBV infection. EBV is transmitted by close person-to-person contact (3).” This information was posted on Medicinenet.com on a page updated on April 29, 2008.

In addition, a study published in the German medical journal Der Hautarzt in September 2012, found that “Various sexual practices like fellatio, cunnilingus (oral/genital contact), or anilingus (rimming) can cause both symptomatic and asymptomatic oral infections in both sexes (4).”

Research shows that a compromised immune system creates conditions suitable for a long-term (chronic) EBV infection of the throat (5). This is according to a study published in 2012 in the Russian medical journal Vestnik Otorinolaringologii.

The bottom line?

Time and again, we find that viruses take advantage of a person’s weak immune system. The result can be huskiness or loss of the voice, harsh breathing, and a painful cough.


(1) University of Maryland Medical Center – Laryngitis – last updated: May 7, 2013

(2) WebMD.com – Laryngitis – Topic Overview – Last Updated: October 09, 2012

(3) MedicineNet.com – The Broad Spectrum of Epstein-Barr Virus Disease (cont.) – Last Editorial Review: 4/29/2008

(4) Schöfer H. “Sexually transmitted infections of the oral cavity” Hautarzt. 2012 Sep;63(9):710-5.

(5) Aznabaeva LF, Aref’eva NA, Daianov AN. “Immunopathogenesis of chronic inflammatory diseases of the pharynx” Vestn Otorinolaringol. 2012;(6):27-9.


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