Published on Brock University (http://brocku.ca)
Infectious Mononucleosis ( commonly called MONO) is a disease causes usually by the Epstein-Barr virus ( EBV). This virus affects the lymph glands which are found in the neck, armpits, groins and abdomen ( including the liver and the spleen).
This infection is rarely serious and frequently so mild that it goes undetected.
Infectious mononucleosis is spread through saliva, hence its nickname----the "kissing disease". Indeed, it does occur most frequently in the segment of the population that likely does the most kissing; those 15 to 25 years of age. Even though this means the disease is almost always spread through intimate contact, don't be surprised if you can't figure out who gave you the infection. However, because the mononucleosis virus may persist in the mouth secretions of infected people for several months after recovery from the illness , the virus is probably most commonly transmitted by infected droplets of saliva release into the air with coughing, sneezing, or breathing from apparently healthy but recently infected people.
EBV is usually in the body 30-50 days before an infected person develops symptoms. The most common and probably the best known symptom is fatigue. Fever, sore throat, and swollen glands in the neck, groins, and armpits occur frequently. The virus often causes enlargement of the spleen and occasionally involves the liver as well.
There are several simple blood tests which are good indicators of mononucleosis. A "mono" blood test can be done but may not become positive until two to four weeks after the start of the illness. The monospot test usually remains positive for about six months after the illness, and is not related to recovery from the illness, so re-testing is not done. If sore throat symptoms are sever, a throat swab for culture may be done to determine if there is an added bacterial ( usually strep) infection , which would require treatment.
Antibiotics are not useful in treating viral diseases like mono, and some will actually cause a bad skin rash. The illness usually clears without specific treatment in a few weeks. Treatment usually includes adequate rest and a pain reliever ( such as acetaminophen) for sore throat , fever, and aches and pains. Be sure to increase your fluid intake to avoid dehydration. The amount of rest depends on the severity of the illness. Many students who contract mononucleosis feel well enough to continue going to their classes. They may need to limit extracurricular activities as direct blows to the area of the spleen or too much physical activity account for about one-half of ruptured spleens. Avoid rigorous exercise until a health professional advises that is safe to resume these activities.
The length of illness varies greatly from person to person
Check with your Doctor before resuming physical activity
Please refer to Brock Student Health Services for diagnosis
Telephone (905) 688-5550; extension 3243