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Mononucleosis (Glandular Fever)

A viral infection marked by extreme fatigue, high fever, and swollen lymph nodes.

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(Source: Wiktionary)

About Mononucleosis

Infectious mononucleosis, also called "mono," is a contagious disease. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is the most common cause of infectious mononucleosis, but other viruses can also cause this disease. It is common among teenagers and young adults, especially college students. At least 25% of teenagers and young adults who get infected with EBV will develop infectious mononucleosis.

Symptoms

Typical symptoms of infectious mononucleosis usually appear 4 to 6 weeks after you get infected with EBV. Symptoms may develop slowly and may not all occur at the same time.

These symptoms include—

  • extreme fatigue
  • fever
  • sore throat
  • head and body aches
  • swollen lymph glands in the neck and armpits
  • swollen liver or spleen or both
  • rash

Enlarged spleen and a swollen liver are less common symptoms. For some people, their liver or spleen or both may remain enlarged even after their fatigue ends.

Most people get better in 2 to 4 weeks; however, some people may feel fatigued for several more weeks. Occasionally, the symptoms of infectious mononucleosis can last for 6 months or longer...Read more about Mononucleosis CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Steroids for short‐term symptom control in infectious mononucleosis (glandular fever)

Glandular fever (infectious mononucleosis) is an infection carried in the saliva. Some people have no symptoms and young adults more commonly suffer symptomatic glandular fever. Common symptoms include fever, sore throat and swollen lymph nodes. The severity and duration of symptoms varies; a few people develop breathing difficulties due to swelling at the back of the throat and other complications requiring hospitalisation. Symptoms can last for months (it is a risk factor for chronic fatigue syndrome). Symptom relief and rest are commonly recommended treatments.

Referral Guidelines for Suspected Cancer in Adults and Children [Internet]

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Screening for Lipid Disorders in Children and Adolescents [Internet]

Dyslipidemias, disorders of lipid metabolism, are important risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD). Identification of children with dyslipidemias could lead to interventions aimed at decreasing their risk of CHD as adults.

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Summaries for consumers

Steroids for short‐term symptom control in infectious mononucleosis (glandular fever)

Glandular fever (infectious mononucleosis) is an infection carried in the saliva. Some people have no symptoms and young adults more commonly suffer symptomatic glandular fever. Common symptoms include fever, sore throat and swollen lymph nodes. The severity and duration of symptoms varies; a few people develop breathing difficulties due to swelling at the back of the throat and other complications requiring hospitalisation. Symptoms can last for months (it is a risk factor for chronic fatigue syndrome). Symptom relief and rest are commonly recommended treatments.

Corticosteroids as standalone or add‐on treatment for sore throat

Sore throat is a common condition. Patients often receive antibiotics for sore throat, which is thought to contribute to resistance to antibiotics in individuals and the community. Sore throats are painful because of the inflammation of the lining of the throat. Corticosteroids reduce inflammation and because they act on the upper respiratory tract in other conditions, may also be beneficial in sore throat.

Childhood Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of childhood Hodgkin lymphoma.

Terms to know

Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)
The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is one of eight viruses in the herpes family, and is one of the most common viruses in humans.
Glands
A group of cells that secrete substances. Endocrine glands secrete hormones. Exocrine glands secrete salt, enzymes, and water.
Liver
The largest abdominal organ. The liver carries out many important functions, such as making important blood proteins and bile, changing food into energy, and cleaning alcohol and poisons from the blood.
Lymph Nodes
A rounded mass of lymphatic tissue that is surrounded by a capsule of connective tissue. Lymph nodes filter lymph (lymphatic fluid), and they store lymphocytes (white blood cells). They are located along lymphatic vessels. Also called lymph gland.
Lymphatic System
The tissues and organs that produce, store, and carry white blood cells that fight infections and other diseases. This system includes the bone marrow, spleen, thymus, lymph nodes, and lymphatic vessels (a network of thin tubes that carry lymph and white blood cells). Lymphatic vessels branch, like blood vessels, into all the tissues of the body.
Spleen
An organ that is part of the lymphatic system. The spleen makes lymphocytes, filters the blood, stores blood cells, and destroys old blood cells. It is located on the left side of the abdomen near the stomach.
Viruses
In medicine, a very simple microorganism that infects cells and may cause disease. Because viruses can multiply only inside infected cells, they are not considered to be alive.

More about Mononucleosis

Photo of a young adult

Also called: Glandular fever, Mono, Kissing disease, Infectious mononucleosis

See Also: Epstein-Barr Virus

Other terms to know: See all 7
Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), Glands, Liver

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