PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — What has been called “the kissing disease” remains one of the most commonly spread viruses in the world — and it’s not going anywhere.
Infectious mononucleosis, or “mono,” is a viral syndrome with several classic symptoms, including fever, pharyngitis (sore throat) and posterior glandular lymphadenopathy (swollen glands). It is spread through saliva from the person infected — via shared utensils and water bottles, for example, and through kissing.
The most common cause is Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). And because a person can be infectious for as long as seven weeks, mononucleosis can spread easily. Not everyone who contracts the virus develops mono symptoms; some people just carry the virus.
It is estimated that two-thirds of people between ages 6 and 19 have been infected. According to the Cleveland Clinic, 90% of Americans have had it by age 35.
Treatment is supportive — rest, fluids, and pain- and fever-reducing medications to relieve symptoms. People usually recover from EBV infections in two to four weeks. Some people may feel fatigued for longer than that.
KYW Newsradio’s Medical Reports are sponsored by Independence Blue Cross.