The Epstein-Barr virus, also known as EBV, is one of the most common of the herpes viruses. Transmission of EBV requires contact with the saliva found in the mouth of an infected person. For adolescents and young adults, EBV can be responsible for the onset of infectious mononucleosis. Most adults in the United States have been exposed to EBV at some point and have therefore built up antibodies.
Most people do not experience any symptoms of the Epstein-Barr virus. Treatment with medication is not usually necessary because the virus eventually goes away on its own. After a person has been infected with EBV, the virus remains dormant in the body's immune system.
In rare situations, EBV can lead to certain types of lymphoma and nose and throat cancer.