Yes, ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) can increase in viral infections, but the degree of increase may vary depending on the type and severity of the viral infection.
ESR is a non-specific marker of inflammation that measures the rate at which red blood cells settle to the bottom of a test tube over a given period of time. In viral infections, the body’s immune response triggers the release of various cytokines and acute-phase reactants, including fibrinogen and C-reactive protein, which can cause an elevation in ESR.
However, ESR alone cannot be used to diagnose a viral infection. Other clinical and laboratory findings, such as symptoms, physical examination, and specific viral tests, may be needed to confirm the diagnosis. It’s also important to note that other conditions, such as autoimmune disorders and certain types of cancer, can also cause an increase in ESR.