Is Infectious Mononucleosis (Kissing Disease) Contagious?

Infectious Mononucleosis (Kissing Disease) is a contagious viral disease. The reason for the 90 % of infectious mononucleosis cases is the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) which is a kind of herpes virus. While adenovirus, rubella, toxoplasma and hepatitis viruses are the other reasons for the 10 % of the infectious mononucleosis cases.  Statistics show that most of the adults have been exposed to the disease before their 35’s and approximately 95 % of the whole population have been infected by mono viruses during their life time. If people once have been exposed to infectious mononucleosis, they develop immunity to the disease and will not get it again. People are generally infected through saliva, nevertheless blood and semen may be other factors for infection.

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How Does The Disease Spread From One To Another?

Since the saliva is the primary factor in spread of the infectious mononucleosis, the disease is publicly known as “kissing disease”. Sneezing and coughing of infected people may spread the disease because of contaminated droplets in the air.  Sharing drinks and food with infectious mononucleosis patient or even using their drinking and eating utensils such as straws, plates, drinking glasses or personal items like toothbrush may cause the infection. Also having sex with infected people may make people ill. Generally, teens and adolescents, especially those between 15 and 25 years old, are the group affected by mono viruses.

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What Are The Symptoms Of The Disease?

Generally, in the children below 5 years-old symptoms mimic to other childhood illnesses or are too mild to be diagnosed. However; older children, youngsters and adults have typical symptoms such as fatigue, malaise, fever, pharyngitis and adenopathy.  Fever may peak in the evenings and may reach a temperature around 40.5° C. Pharyngitis may be painful and severe. There may be general body aches, including headache. Some other more serious symptoms like splenomegaly, hepatomegaly, periorbital edema, palatal petechia may be observed. Jaundice is rare.

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How Is The Treatment?

The infectious mononucleosis is a viral disease and therefore antibiotics are useless. The most effective way of treatment is to have bed rest, good nutrition and plenty of liquids. Medicine to relieve pains may be taken. It takes 2- 4 weeks to recover, however in some cases recovery may last up to 6 moths depending on the immune system of the patients. Generally, all of the infectious mononucleosis patients have full and complete recovery after a period of time.

In rare cases, hematologic complications, splenic rupture, respirator complications and hepatic complications may occur. In those cases detailed investigations and tests should be made.

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