EBV is most contagious in the first couple of weeks when symptoms like a sore throat, swollen glands, fever, nasal discharge and cough may be present. The virus is shed from the throat but can also be spread via mucous and in blood.
How long EBV is contagious for can vary from person to person. The virus can be spread for up to a year after the initial infection although symptoms may no longer be present.
Because Epstein Barr is a latent virus it can be reactivated and become contagious again for months or years after infection. In fact many healthy people can carry and spread the virus on and off for life. It is believed that it is these people that are the main reservoir for person to person transmission of the disease.
Epstein Barr is present in the saliva of infected people. Kissing, sharing drinks, eating utensils, lipsticks, towels and toys are all ways the virus can be spread. Epstein Barr virus can be transferred from mouth to hand so hand-washing is important.
If respiratory symptoms like sneezing, coughing and a runny nose are present, then the virus can also be spread through mucous. Unlike the cold and flu virus which can survive for periods of time out of the human body, Epstein Barr is a very fragile virus that cannot survive for long outside the body. For this reason epidemics of Epstein Barr are not normally seen.
Contagious EBV can also be spread through the blood. Sharing a needle or being contaminated by a blood transfusion are possible ways to pick up the infection. If you have had a recent infection of Epstein Barr, it is important that you do not donate blood for at least 6 months after the appearance of symptoms.
Most people have been exposed to Epstein Barr by their late twenties. Once you have been infected you cannot pick up the infection again from another person. If you have a partner with Epstein Barr and you are unsure if you are immune, then a simple blood test can verify if you are susceptible. This test is particularly useful for pregnant women or those with compromised immune systems who are in contact with an individual with contagious EBV.
If you think your EBV is contagious, it is best to err on the side of caution and be careful with kissing and personal hygiene. To support your immune system and get over Epstein Barr there are some very effective natural therapies you can try.