Mononucleosis

Infectious Mononucleosis or "mono" is a contagious disease, and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is the most common cause, although other viruses can also cause this disease. Mono is common among teenagers and young adults, and very common in the college environment. At least 25% of teenagers and young adults who get infected with EBV will develop mono.

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of mononucleosis may include:

  • Fatigue
  • General feeling of unwellness (malaise)
  • Sore throat, perhaps a strep throat that doesn't get better with antibiotic use
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes in your neck and armpits
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Headache
  • Skin rash
  • Soft, swollen spleen

The virus has an incubation period of approximately four to six weeks, although in young children this period may be shorter. Signs and symptoms such as fever and sore throat usually lessen within a couple of weeks, although fatigue, enlarged lymph nodes and a swollen spleen may last for a few weeks longer.

Prevention and Treatment

There is no vaccine to protect against mononucleosis, and by age 35 most adults have been exposed to the virus that is the most common cause. Sharing drinks, food, personal items like toothbrushes, and kissing are all sources of transmission for mono.

Symptons can be alleviated by drinking plenty of fluids, getting plenty of rest and taking over the counter medications for pain and fever.