Viewer Question:If you had mono once, can you get it again or does your body build up an immunity to it like with chicken pox?
Doctor's Response:The chances of getting mono a second time are somewhere between next-to-nothing and nothing. lymphocyte) is found. Some of these increased lymphocytes are unusual or "atypical" lymphocytes, which suggest "mono." More specific testing, such as the monospot and heterophile antibody tests, can confirm the diagnosis of "mono." These tests rely on the body's immune system to make measurable antibodies against the EpsteinBarr virus. The current lab testing for mono is a blood test that is not actually measuring the amount of virus in the blood, but is detecting the antibodies in the blood that are directed against this virus. These antibodies can remain in the blood virtually for a lifetime. This does get confusing both for doctors and patients, leading to errant diagnoses of second, third, or forth infections.
Source: HB Jenson, In Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 15th edition, edited by RE Behrman, RM Kliegman, & AM Arvin, WB Saunders Company, Phila., 1996.
Last Editorial Review: 6/25/2002