A Sneaky New Illness Discovered in the Finnish Folks, Acting Like Mono But Genetic!

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A new hereditary disease was found in Finns, which manifests as severe infectious mononucleosis, said the Helsinki-Uusimaa Hospital District (HUS) in a press release on Thursday referring to a study.

The genetic defect can lead to the treatment of many different diseases.

Almost all Finns suffer from symptomatic or asymptomatic “kissing disease”, or infectious mononucleosis (IM), at a young age, which is an infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). A small part of the patients requires hospital care.

About 95 per cent of Finns are infected with the Epstein-Barr virus, which spreads through saliva. Most are exposed to the virus as a child, either without symptoms or with infectious mononucleosis as the only symptom. The symptoms of severe infectious mononucleosis are usually fever and severely swollen lymph nodes and spleen. Symptoms requiring hospital care include severe inflammatory symptoms, severe lymphatic tissue hyperplasia (overgrowth), decline in general condition and rupture of the spleen.

A new gene defect was discovered in the Finnish population, which, if inherited from both parents, may cause severe infectious mononucleosis but also help you cope with it.

"This is a new hereditary disease in Finland, and around 300 Finns have it. One of its manifestations is severe infectious mononucleosis, which eventually heals on its own", said Mikko Seppänen, Chief Physician of Children and Adolescents of HUS and the University of Helsinki.

The study published in the science journal Nature was carried out in international cooperation, which also included one of the principal researchers of the FinnGen project, Mark Daly from the University of Helsinki.

Some people with severe infectious mononucleosis are later diagnosed with other diseases associated with the Epstein-Barr virus, such as lymphatic tissue hyperplasia, which may lead to lymph node cancers or severe lymph node inflammation.

Everyone infected with the EBV carry the virus for the rest of their life. The study revealed that the gene defect prevented the gene from functioning, making it unable to communicate in its communication pathway. This led to a sudden inflammation with more symptoms than usual. At the same time, the gene defect surprisingly appeared to protect against uncontrolled general inflammation and life-threatening lymphatic tissue growth leading to tumor diseases. These can appear quickly in many hereditary immune deficiencies, or even decades later in drug-induced immune deficiencies. In other words, a functional gene was required for the uncontrolled overgrowth of lymphatic tissue.

"In the future, we are interested in whether the progression of lymphatic hyperplasia could be prevented by a treatment that silences the communication pathway found. If it works, we might be able to stop the progression of many of the most difficult blood cancers and lymph node tumors," Seppänen said.

The study monitored the patients for only a few years, so preparations for a new study have already begun. The aim is to find out whether Finnish biobanks and the children treated for infectious mononucleosis at the New Children's Hospital have this genetic defect.

"Biobank research can quickly determine whether these children should be prepared for the risk of an immune disease later in life. At the same time, we will find out the whole spectrum of the disease," Seppänen added.

The study was launched at the Institute Imagine and Université Paris Cité, which specialize in genetic diseases in France, where three French children with severe infectious mononucleosis were examined for rare genetic defects. Severe mononucleosis infections are very rare in Central and Southern Europe.

Through HUS, the French contacted the FinnGen project, which covers the whole of Finland and contains genome and health register data for more than 540,000 Finns. An analysis carried out by FinnGen confirmed that the gene defect may cause severe infectious mononucleosis.

Kymenlaakso, Helsinki region and Savo have the highest number of carriers of the Finnish gene defect. The gene defect is about 50 times more common in Finns than in other populations.

Source: www.dailyfinland.fi

14 Comments
  1. AvaSmith99 says

    As a genetics enthusiast, it’s fascinating to see how a new hereditary disease has been identified within the Finnish population. This discovery sheds light on the complexity of genetic inheritance and its impact on health outcomes. The fact that this genetic defect can not only lead to severe infectious mononucleosis but also potentially offer some resilience is both intriguing and concerning. I hope further research will provide insights into effective treatments and preventive measures for individuals affected by this condition.

  2. AnnaSmith45 says

    As a Finnish citizen, I find this new illness discovery alarming yet fascinating. It’s concerning that almost all of us are exposed to the Epstein-Barr virus, but it’s intriguing to learn about the genetic defect that may actually help us cope with severe infectious mononucleosis. Kudos to the researchers for shedding light on this new hereditary disease!

  3. KristaJohnson86 says

    As a genetic disease affecting the Finns, this discovery is significant in understanding the vulnerabilities of certain populations to severe illnesses like infectious mononucleosis. It is fascinating how a hereditary defect can both trigger and potentially alleviate the symptoms of such conditions.

  4. Kari_1985 says

    It’s fascinating to see how genetics play a role in diseases like this. Let’s hope further research can lead to better understanding and treatment options for those affected in the Finnish population.

  5. Kira Peterson says

    As a Finn, I find this discovery fascinating yet concerning. The idea of a genetic defect causing severe infectious mononucleosis is alarming, but the potential for it to help cope with the disease is intriguing. It sheds light on the complexity of our genetic makeup. Hopefully, further research will provide more insights and potential treatments.

  6. Katja86 says

    As a Finn, I find this discovery concerning yet intriguing. The fact that a new hereditary disease has been identified in our population raises both awareness and questions about our genetic makeup. It’s fascinating how our genes can play such a significant role in our health outcomes. Looking forward to learning more about this genetic defect and its implications.

  7. EmmaSmith92 says

    As a genetic researcher, I find it fascinating to see new hereditary diseases emerging in specific populations like the Finns. The discovery of this gene defect sheds light on the complexities of our genetic makeup and its impact on health. It’s intriguing to learn how this new disease not only causes severe infectious mononucleosis but also offers a potential for better resilience. Research in this area could lead to breakthroughs in treating various illnesses. Exciting times for medical genetics!

  8. Kaisa_87 says

    As a Finn, I find this discovery both alarming and fascinating. It’s unsettling to know that a new hereditary disease is lurking in our population, but at the same time, the fact that it can also provide some level of immunity is intriguing. I hope further research will shed more light on this condition and how we can better understand and manage it.

  9. EmilyRose82 says

    Does this new hereditary disease affect only the Finnish population, or is there a possibility of it being present in other regions as well?

    1. AlexJohnson79 says

      Hi, EmilyRose82! The new hereditary disease discovered in the Finnish population is currently specific to Finns due to the genetic defect found within that population. However, genetic research is ongoing worldwide, so it’s possible that similar conditions may be identified in other regions in the future.

  10. MiaJohnson87 says

    As someone of Finnish descent, I find this discovery fascinating. It’s intriguing to learn about a new genetic illness in my community that acts like mono. Hopefully, further research can lead to better understanding and treatment options for those affected.

  11. EmmaSmith82 says

    As a Finnish myself, this discovery is both concerning and fascinating. It’s incredible how genetics can play such a significant role in our health. Hopefully, further research will provide more insights into this sneaky new illness.

  12. JennySmith24 says

    Is this new hereditary disease specific only to the Finnish population, or could it potentially affect people of other nationalities as well?

  13. Katja85 says

    In my opinion, this new information about a hereditary disease found in Finns is both fascinating and concerning. It’s intriguing to learn how a genetic defect can lead to various diseases, including severe infectious mononucleosis. The fact that almost all Finns have been exposed to the Epstein-Barr virus at a young age is quite alarming. The discovery of this gene defect, although rare, sheds light on the complexity of genetic factors affecting health.

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