Cause Infectious mononucleosis is caused by the
Ebstein-Barr virus, which is a member of the herpes family.
This family also includes the viruses that cause cold sores,
chicken pox, genital herpes, and birth defects. The
Ebstein-Barr virus has a lengthy incubation period and
symptoms usually take about 4-10 weeks to develop.
Once a person is infected with a herpes virus, it never really
goes away. The viruses are able to lie dormant in our
bodies and become active at any time. The only way mono
can be spread is through direct contact with infected saliva.
That explains why it is known as the ďkissing diseaseĒ.
Drinking from each- others glasses, sharing silverware, and
coughing can also spread the virus. In rare cases it can be
transmitted from person to person through blood
transfusions. A person can only be infected when someone
who has the virus passes it to someone who has never been
exposed. But less than 5% of people w/ mono can recall
being in contact w/ someone who had mono. That is b/c
some people are strictly carriers. They carry the virus and
pass it along to someone else without ever getting any
symptoms themselves. Population Affected Anyone can get
mono. About 70-80% of all cases occur in people btw/ the
ages of 15-30. Mono is most common among high school
and college students who immune systems are usually run
down from stress and fatigue. Although mono peaks earlier
in females, it occurs more often in males. Females are
usually 15-16 when they contract mono and males tend to
be around 18-23. It is estimated that by the age of 40,
95% of the population has already had mono. That might
be hard to believe, but most people who had mono didnít
even know it. They had such mild cases that they thought it
was just a cold or flu and their bodies were able to
produce antibodies against ever having mono again.
Symptoms If symptoms do appear, they donít develop
immediately. The incubation period lasts anywhere from 2
to 7 weeks. The 1st symptoms are commonly mistaken for
a cold. They are headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, and
chills. The symptoms become more severe as the bodyís
lymphatic system is affected. These include extreme
exhaustion, sore throat, fever and swollen glands. Sore
muscles, weakness, nausea, and difficulty breathing have
also been reported. The typical mono symptoms usually
last 1-3 weeks, but they can go away in a few days or last
several months. Mono causes enlarged spleens in 50% of
patients and enlarged livers in 20%. Tonsillitis, difficulty
swallowing, coughing and vomiting are other symptoms that
can occur. About ½ of all mono patients experience bumps
on theie tongues, 1/3 have puffy, painful eyes, and 1/10
develop a rash over their bodies. Although most symptoms
donít last long, fatigue can last for many months.

Category: Science