Infectious Mononucleosis

What Is Infectious Mononucleosis?

Infectious Mononucleosis is a viral infection which causes swelling of the lymph glands, and changes in the white blood cells which results in flu-like symptoms, and lingering feelings of general malaise. It usually takes within three  to six weeks for the infectious mononucleosis to run its course. Recovery is generally complicated, and complete. This disease is usually common among adolescents, and young people. It is communicable, and is sometimes called the “kissing disease” because it is spread by direct contact with saliva, or secretions from the nose. There are however many other ways, apart from kissing in which it can spread.

Symptoms of Infectious Mononucleosis

  • Fatigue, headache, chills, and general malaise.  This may occur five to fifteen days after exposure to the disease.
  • A fever 102 degrees or higher.
  • Sore throat.
  • Swollen lymph nodes. – There may be occasional enlargement of the lymph nodes, sometimes after the other symptoms have disappeared.
  • Possible abdominal swelling and tenderness.
  • Possible jaundice – This indicates an impact of the disease on the liver.
  • Discolored rashes on the skin.
  • Enlargement of the spleen -There may be occasional enlargement of the spleen, sometimes after the other symptoms have disappeared.
  • In rare cases, chest pain, breathlessness, and symptoms indicating involvement of other organs.  In this case the heart, lungs, and central nervous system are being affected by the disease.

Causes of Infectious Mononucleosis

Infectious mononucleosis is caused by one of the most common viruses that results in disease in humans. This virus is a member of the herpes virus family, and is called the Epstein-Barr virus.


  • Bed rest, and limitation of activities is quite essential during the period of illness.
  • Sore throat may be relieved by hot salt gargles, or throat irrigations.
  • The best way to avoid infectious mononucleosis, especially when around an infected person, is by practicing proper hygiene. Avoid sharing personal items such as cups, forks, spoons.  Wash hands frequently, and keep them away from the mouth.
  • Try to maintain your regular nutritional status by eating a balanced diet. This may however be difficult due to loss of appetite which is common during periods of illness.
  • If you have been diagnosed with infectious mononucleosis, avoid passing it on to others. Apart from washing hands, avoid kissing, and other direct contact until fully recovered.


  • Call the doctor if the symptoms being experienced worsen, especially in breathing, and yellowing of the skin, chest pains, or altered nervous function. These are signs that other organs may be affected as well.
  • It is also advisable to see a doctor if the fever persists for more than three to five  days.
  • The disease can prove to be serious, or even fatal if the spleen ruptures, the airways become blocked, or meningitis develops.
  • The disease can sometimes linger for two  to three  months, even though it is usually over in four  weeks.
  • It is advisable to take heed to the warnings above because Infectious Mononucleosis, though simple, can be quite deadly.

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