Infectious mononucleosis is an infection generally caused by viruses, especially by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). The disease can be transmitted from person to person through saliva contact and therefore common name of “Kissing Disease” has been prevailing instead of its medical name infectious mononucleosis. The kissing disease which can also be spread by sharing contaminated food and beverage utensils and by kissing, has an incubation period from four weeks to eight weeks until the clinical symptoms appear. A person with infectious mononucleosis (kissing disease) can also pass the disease by sneezing or by coughing because infected small droplets can be inhaled by other people. Certain diagnosis of the disease can be confirmed with a blood test.
Who are Generally Infected
Kissing disease (Infectious mononucleosis) affects people at any age but it is mostly observed and diagnosed among the adolescents and young adults – young people between 15 and 24 years old. It is also widely common among people such as college students and drafted personnel who have to live in crowded places. However, majority of adults between 35-40 years old have been determined as having built up immunity to the kissing disease. This means that many people had already developed the illness when they were younger but they were not diagnosed as patient with infectious mononucleosis, since either their symptoms were mild or they never produced symptoms.
General Symptoms of the Kissing Disease
Symptoms of the Kissing Disease differ from person to person depending on their immune system. Some patients show no symptoms while some do. The initial symptoms of the Kissing Disease are malaise and fatigue, lack of energy, loss of appetite and sometimes chills. Following the initial symptoms lasting for 1-3 days, more intense symptoms begin to be observed. The intense symptoms include fever (which may be very persistent in some cases), severe sore throat, tonsillitis and swollen glands (lymphadenopathy). The disease is less severe in small children and the mild symptoms mimicking symptoms of other childhood disease may not be diagnosed as infectious mononucleosis without a blood test.
Since this disease is caused by viruses, antibiotic treatment is not helpful. The most effective way of treatment is to ease the symptoms, to rest and to have a diet including more vitamins and adequate amount of liquid.