An estimated 2.8 million people around the world have multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease in which the immune system damages the brain and spinal cord.
Symptoms include fatigue, vision disturbance, problems with mobility and balance, and cognitive dysfunction. Many people who develop MS experience symptoms followed by a period of recovery, but over time the disease can progress to permanent disability.
The exact causes of MS are unknown. But for decades scientists have suggested a link between MS and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). This is an infection which, when contracted in childhood, generally doesn’t cause symptoms. However, infection in adolescence can lead to glandular fever, also called the “kissing disease” or infectious mononucleosis (“mono”).