NEW YORK, NY – Matt Damon shocked medically illiterate TV viewers on Friday morning’s Today Show when he confirmed that he is positive for the Epstein Barr virus. It is unclear when the actor, whose recent star turn as astronaut Mark Watney in the film adaptation of the science fiction novel The Martian has garnered rave reviews, contracted the virus, but according to his mother he returned home from theatre camp in the summer of 1980 suffering from malaise, which she had initially attributed to the ennui that typifies budding thespians.
Damon, for his part, maintains that it is medically “very likely” that he transmitted the virus to others that summer, which he describes as “a great year for tonsil hockey.”
Damon was accompanied by his childhood pediatrician, Dr. Erin Murphy, whose insistence that the disease is very common, with a latency rate of up to 90% in adults, went largely ignored by intrigued viewers on account of the sheer gravitas of the actor’s tearful announcement.
Friends and costars were quick to rally in support of the actor, with the notable exception of Julia Roberts, who insists she wishes Damon would have disclosed his EBV status while the two worked closely together on the Ocean’s trilogy.
The actor had hoped to live quietly with his disease burden, but rumors have swirled in the entertainment industry for years about the actor’s EBV status with many insiders corroborating reports of lethargy on set. Recent allegations of film evidence of swollen lymph nodes by a cash-strapped Gus Van Sant have also gained momentum and appear to have precipitated the admission.
Damon hopes the announcement will help ease the stigma for others afflicted with EBV, which, by the way, is a member of the herpes virus family, so good luck with that. Damon also plans to bring further awareness to the virus in the next installment of the Bourne series, where a flashback sequence will show him undergoing EBV serologic testing before joining Blackbriar, in the hope that others will submit to similar testing.