Mono

What is Mono?

Mononucleosis (also called “Mono,” glandular fever and colloquially, the “kissing disease”), is a disease most commonly caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). EBV affects the lymphocytes which are white blood cells involved in the adaptive immune system. Mononucleosis can also be caused by Cytomegalovirus (HCMV), a herpes virus most commonly found in body fluids. While CMV can cause mononucleosis, 85% of the cases are associated with EBV. The disease can be found in anyone, but is most commonly contracted by adolescents and young adults ages 15-35.

Diagnosing Mono

If you are suffering from symptoms of Mononucleosis it is important to consult a health care provider who will perform a physical exam. If after observation Mono is still suspected, a blood test will be done to confirm the diagnosis

What Causes Mono?

Infectious mononucleosis is most commonly caused by a virus known as the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Mono is usually spread through infected saliva - that is why it is often called "the Kissing disease". Transmission of the virus requires prolonged and repeated exposure to infectious saliva – and often people have no idea how they contracted Mono.

People with infectious mononucleosis are contagious for months after the virus! Once a person has been infected with the Epstein-Barr virus it stays in the body even after recovery and although that individual could develop Mono again this is not common. The best way to prevent the spread of the virus is to not kiss or share food, drinks or eating utensils with an infected person.

Help for Mono

Since it is a viral illness, antibiotics are not effective in treating Mono. If a secondary infection develops, such as a strep throat or sinus infection, then antibiotics can be prescribed for treatment. Tylenol or Advil may be used for fever, body aches or throat pain. Extra rest is highly recommended. Most symptoms of Mononucleosis usually resolve in one to two weeks, but it may take several weeks to months for full recovery.

Students may attend classes as tolerated but sports with a lot of physical contact are not recommended for 4-8 weeks since the virus can also affect the spleen causing it to become enlarged. If an enlarged spleen is hit or strained it could rupture causing severe internal bleeding. Additionally, mono may cause liver inflammation. It is, therefore, important not to drink alcohol since this could further damage the liver.




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