How serious is infectious mononucleosis?
The symptoms of the disease usually resolve without treatment in one to four months. Sometimes, your spleen or liver may enlarge, and you may have to limit your activity until these organs return to normal size for example, you may be told to avoid contact sports while your spleen is enlarged). Heart problems or involvement of the occur only rarely. Infectious mononucleosis may cause severe liver failure in males with a very rare genetic disorder called X-linked lymphoproliferative syndrome. In this case, mononucleosis can be fatal.
Is mononucleosis really a "kissing disease"?
The spread of EBV requires close contact with saliva (found in the mouth) of an infected person. Kissing can transmit infection, but saliva on toys or hands can also transmit the . Transmission through the air or blood does not normally occur. The incubation period, the time from infection to appearance of symptoms, ranges from 4 to 6 weeks.
People who have infectious mononucleosis may be able to spread the infection to others for a period of weeks. Many healthy people can carry and spread the virus intermittently for life, without any symptoms, and testing them for the virus is not practicable. For this reason, it is almost impossible to prevent the virus spreading in the community.
Does the Epstein-Barr virus cause chronic fatigue syndrome?
Can I get infectious mononucleosis more than once?
Although the symptoms of infectious mononucleosis usually go away in 1 or 2 months, EBV remains inactive in a few cells in the body for the rest of the person's life. Periodically, the virus can reactivate, and it is commonly found in the saliva of infected persons. This reactivation usually occurs without symptoms of illness.
Can EBV cause other serious illnesses?
EBV has been linked to certain cancers, such as Burkitt’s lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, and AIDS-related lymphoma, and continues to be studied for possible linkages to these and other cancers. All these diseases are rare.