Mononucleosis Symptoms

  • Symptoms

    Newly exposed older children and young adults are likely to experience fatigue, sore throat, swollen glands, and fever. The throat becomes painfully sore, and white patches resembling those seen in strep throat may appear on the tonsils. Sore throats are usually most painful during the first three to five days of the infection.

    Fever can come and go for up to 14 days, and usually peaks in the afternoon or early evening. Fever temperatures can climb as high as 103°C-105°F (39.5°C 40.5°C).

    Up to half of the people who exhibit symptoms of mono also experience a temporary, sometime painful enlargement of the spleen. The spleen, which is located in the upper left part of the abdomen, is an important organ because it filters blood, and is a major part of the immune system.

    When a person develops mono, he or she usually first complains of extreme fatigue. Then, fever, sore throat, and swollen glands of the neck, underarms, or groin develop.

    Headaches and sore muscles are less common symptoms, but also occur. Some individuals experience loss of appetite.

  • Risk Factors

    Infants in undeveloped countries are at high risk for EBV infection at an early age, but that infection is normally without symptoms.

    In more developed countries and among affluent populations, many individuals between the ages of 15 and 25 have escaped EBV infection, and are at risk for developing mono when they become infected.

    High school and college students, interns, nurses and other caregivers, and other people who come into close contact with many people are most likely to get mono.

    Exchanging saliva through kissing someone who has experienced EBV infection, or sharing utensils or a toothbrush with that person puts you at risk for getting the infection yourself.

    Uninfected individuals who take drugs designed to suppress the immune system are also at increased risk for having complications during EBV infection.

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