Sore Throat: Is It Mono?
Having a sore throat can be a symptom of many conditions, and many people wonder if their own sore throat might be a sign of something more serious than
the common cold. Specifically, infectious mononucleosis ("mono") and infection
with Streptococcus bacteria ("strep throat") are two conditions that both
produce an extremely painful sore throat.
Quick GuideInfectious Mononucleosis Pictures Slideshow
Infectious mononucleosis (mono) facts
- Infectious mononucleosis (mono) is a contagious illness typically caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).
- The infection can be spread by saliva, and the incubation period for mono is four to eight weeks. Using contaminated items, such as drinking glasses or toothbrushes, can spread the infection.
- Most adults have laboratory evidence (antibodies against the EBV) indicative of a previous infection with EBV and are immune to further infection.
- The symptoms of mono include
- The diagnosis of mono is confirmed by blood tests.
- Mono can cause liver inflammation (hepatitis) and enlargement of the spleen.
- Vigorous contact sports should be avoided during the illness and recovery phase to prevent rupture of the spleen.
- The long-term prognosis for most people with mono is excellent, and severe complications are rare.
What is infectious mononucleosis?
Infectious mononucleosis, "mono," "kissing disease," and glandular fever are all terms popularly used for the very common infection typically caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), but other viruses can also cause the disease. This article focuses specifically on the EBV as a cause of mono since this is the characteristic virus associated with the condition.
The symptoms of infection with EBV include fever, fatigue, malaise, and sore throat. The designation "mononucleosis" refers to an increase in a particular type of mononuclear white blood cells (lymphocytes) in the bloodstream relative to the other white blood cells as a result of the viral infection. Scientifically, EBV is classified as a member of the herpesvirus family.
The disease was first described in 1889 and was referred to as "Drüsenfieber," or glandular fever. The term infectious mononucleosis was first used in 1920 when an increased number of lymphocytes were found in the blood of a group of college students who had fever and symptoms of the condition.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/17/2016