Health A-Z


Clinical Definition

Mononucleosis is an acute infectious disease that can cause lymphadenopathy, splenomegaly and pharyngitis. The most common causative agent is the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), which is a gamma-type herpes virus. Once infected with EBV, the virus remains dormant in the body and may reactivate. It is often transmitted through contact with oral secretions from an infected individual.

In Our Own Words

Mononucleosis is a very common viral infection that causes flu-like symptoms. In most cases, it is caused by the Epstein Barr Virus (EBV). Mono is very contagious and is often spread from person to person through contact with infected saliva, hence the old nickname, “the kissing disease.”

Mononucleosis occurs in every age group, but is especially common in young people during their teenage years. Both the disease course and the time needed for recovery varies from person to person. Once an individual is infected with the virus, it stays in the body, although it does not continue to cause illness. A diagnosis is usually made based on symptoms and confirmed through blood tests and a mono spot test.

Symptoms and Side Effects

  • Fever and fatigue
  • Sore throat with involvement of the tonsils
  • Swollen lymph nodes, especially along the neck
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