Infectious Mononucleosis Pictures Slideshow
Reviewed by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD on Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Infectious mononucleosis (“kissing disease”) is a very common illness caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).
EBV is a double-stranded DNA virus named for the English virologists professor Sir Anthony Epstein and Yvonne M. Barr.
By adulthood, 90%-95% of men and women have been infected with EBV, with infection most often occurring in people 5-25 years of age.
Mono is usually spread by person-to-person contact with saliva as the primary method of transmission.
During an infection, a person is likely able to transmit the virus to others for at least a few weeks.
Approximately 20%-80% of people who have had mono will continue to secrete the EBV in their saliva for years due to periodic "reactivations."
The most common signs of mono are a very reddened throat and tonsils along with swollen lymph glands (nodes) in the neck.
The diagnosis of mono is suspected by the doctor based on the patient's symptoms and signs and confirmed through blood tests.
In most cases of mono, no specific treatment is necessary although a sufficient amount of sleep and rest is important.
Fatigue or tiredness may persist for months, and virus particles may be present in the saliva for as long as 18 months after the initial infection.
While there can be complications, fortunately, the more severe complications of mono are quite rare and are very rarely fatal in healthy people.
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