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Is There a Virus that Causes Joint Pain?

Updated on August 18, 2012

If you suffer from joint pain, you may not know why the discomfort is occurring. A surprising number of people simply live with their pain, never bothering to seek significant medical help. This can be a big mistake, however. You could have a virus that causes joint pain and other problematic symptoms.

While not all joint pain is caused by viruses, getting the right treatment is essential for people who have these infection. Here's a look at some of the possibilities, as well as how to know if your pain is virus-related.

Barmah Forest Virus

Barmah Forest virus is a disease spread by mosquitoes. This condition is currently isolated to Australia and is characterized by headache, fever, chills and muscle pain. People with this condition also tend to feel weak and tired, get a week-long rash on their arms, legs or torso, and suffer from swelling, pain and stiffness in the joints. This joint pain is especially common in the morning. Barmah Forest virus is non-fatal and can be diagnosed via a blood test. Treatment involves dealing with the symptoms using over the counter medications and anti-inflammatory foods or supplements.

Epstein-Barr Virus

Epstein-Barr virus is better known as mononucleosis and makes most people think of teenagers or college students with the "kissing disease". This member of the herpes family is also associated with some forms of cancer, as well as a high risk of some kinds of autoimmune problems, however. Up to 95 percent of people in the United States and most other parts of the world have evidence of this disease.

Epstein-Barr can be asymptomatic, but also manifests with fever, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes and muscle or joint aches. In rare cases, this disease can result in neurological problems that result in long-term damage.

Infectious Arthritis

Most people think of arthritis as a condition brought on by age and overuse of the joints. Infectious arthritis, also known as septic arthritis, happens when a virus, fungus or bacterium enters the joint, however. The result is inflammation and significant joint pain. The good news is that this type of illness is usually short term. Quick treatment can keep the condition from spreading throughout the body and prevents long term damage.

You're more likely to develop this kind of inflammation if you have another condition, such as sickle cell anemia, kidney disease, diabetes or an immune deficiency. In rare cases, this may happen if you have joint surgery. You might get infectious arthritis if you take corticosteroids or similar drugs, but you can treat the condition with bed rest and anti-inflammatory.


The term "Parvovirus" refers to a large family of viruses that cause serious diseases in both animals and humans. The one most likely to affect people is called Parvovirus B19, which causes a condition known as fifth disease or slapped-cheek syndrome. This condition mostly affects children and is carried by respiratory droplets and blood. The disease results in a reddish-pink rash on the hands and cheeks that make sufferers look as though they have been slapped.

This condition also causes chronic anemia in AIDS patients and can result in joint pain even long after the infection. The virus produces long term arthritic joint inflammation and is responsible for up to 15 percent of new arthritis cases. The condition is usually controlled using anti-inflammatory supplements like green-lipped mussel powder and magnesium, or over-the-counter medications.

Ross River Virus

This virus is similar to Barmah Forest virus and is also native to Australia, but can also be found in Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and other South Pacific areas. The virus is spread by mosquitoes and produces weakness, extremely high fever, appetite loss and joint pain. Most people feel better within a few weeks with treatment, but in some cases, the disease can become chronic, producing fatigue and depression for years.


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    • raj2006 profile image

      raj2006 5 years ago from New Delhi


      Nice to know the article was helpful to you and thanks a lot for voting up the article :)

    • Bopi-Cheppu profile image

      Bopi-Cheppu 5 years ago from San Antonio, TX, U.S.A

      raj2006, Thank you for sharing this information. This hub has stimulated me to know how these virus changes our nociceptive system to induce chronic pain. Hope I will find literature about it.

      voted up!