What is infectious mononucleosis?

Mononucleosis, Infectious (Glandular Fever)

Usually called glandular fever, it is an acute viral infection that normally causes a high temperature, sore throat, and swollen lymphatic glands, especially in the neck. It is either caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (and is sometimes called Epstein-Barr virus disease for this reason) or the cytomegalovirus. The disease is most common between the ages of 15 and 17, but the individual will only develop glandular fever if this is the first time that he or she has been exposed to the virus. Kissing is thought to the most common way of catching the disease, and it is therefore sometimes known as the “kissing disease”.

What are the symptoms?
* High temperature and fever

* Sore throat

* Jaundice – can occur in a few rare cases as a result of mild liver disease

* Swollen lymphatic glands – particularly in the neck, but also in the groin, armpits, and other areas. The spleen may also be swollen, and your doctor may feel for it in the upper part of your abdomen. If the glands in the neck become very large they can interfere with swallowing.

What can be done about it?
Your doctor may take a sample of your blood to check for any white blood cells that have been invaded by the virus and are therefore abnormal, or may perform another test, which looks for antibodies to the virus. Complete rest is the best cure, and most patients recover in two to six weeks without any medical intervention. After recovering from the disease, some people continue to feel tired and depressed for two or three months. If the fatigue continues beyond this then you should consult your doctor again.

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