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J Am Board Fam Pract. 2001 Jul-Aug;14(4):234-42.

Prospective study of the natural history of infectious mononucleosis caused by Epstein-Barr virus.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Knowledge regarding the clinical characteristics and natural history of acute infectious mononucleosis is based largely on older, often retrospective, studies without systematic follow-up. Differences in diagnosis, methodology, or treatment between historical and current practice might affect an understanding of this illness.

METHODS:

Using a prospective case series design, we enrolled 150 persons with an acute illness serologically confirmed as Epstein-Barr virus infection. The goal of the study was to assess symptoms, physical examination findings, laboratory tests, and functional status measures during the acute presentation and 1, 2, and 6 months later.

RESULTS:

Acutely, infectious mononucleosis was characterized by the symptoms of sore throat and fatigue and substantial functional impairment. Objective physical and laboratory examination findings included pharyngitis and cervical lymphadenopathy, a moderate absolute and atypical lymphocytosis, and mildly elevated transaminase levels. The traditional signs of fever and splenomegaly were relatively uncommon. By 1 month, most symptoms and signs and all laboratory tests had returned to normal. Fatigue, cervical lymphadenopathy, pharyngitis, and functional health status improved more slowly.

CONCLUSIONS:

In contemporary practice most of the classical illness features of infectious mononucleosis are observed. Symptoms, signs, and poor functioning might be protracted in some patients.

PMID:
11458965
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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