General Illness Information
Medical Term: Mononucleosis
Common Name: None Specified
Description: An acute illness,characterised by fever, sore throat and enlarged lymph glands, caused by the Epstein-Barr Virus.
Causes: The causative agent is the Epstein-Barr virus. After gaining entry to the nasopharynx and replicating, the virus infects B lymphocytes in the body.
Prevention: Avoid contact with persons having infectious mononucleosis.
Signs & Symptoms
- Sore throat (sometimes severe).
- Swollen lymph glands, usually in the neck, underarms or groin.
- Loss of appetite.
- Enlarged spleen.
- Enlarged liver.
- Jaundice with yellow skin and eyes (sometimes).
- General aching and malaise.
- Stress, fatigue.
- Illness that has lowered resistance.
- People exposed to crowded close conditions, for example, military recruits, college and high school students.
Diagnosis & Treatment
The diagnosis is made by clinical findings, and blood tests. A Monospot blood test will be positive.
- No specific cure is available. Extra rest and healthy diet are important. There is no need to isolate the patient.
- To relieve the sore throat, gargle frequently with warm salt water (1 teaspoon of salt to 8 oz. of water). Commercial preparations may be of benefit.
- Complications must be identified, and managed.
- For minor discomfort, non-prescription drugs such as acetaminophen may be used. Don’t take aspirin because of its suspected association with Reye’s syndrome.
- Antibiotics and antivirals are not indicated.
Rest in bed, especially when you have fever. Resume activity gradually. Rest when you are fatigued.Â Don’t participate in contact sports until at least 2 months after complete recovery.
No special diet. You may not feel like eating while you are ill. Maintain an adequate fluid intake. Drink at least 8 glasses of water or juice a day or more during periods of high fever.
- Most cases resolve spontaneously. In rare cases, complications can cause serious problems.
- Central nervous system complications include encephalitis, seizures, neuropathy, aseptic meningitis.
- Hematological complications include rupture of the spleen, low white cell counts, and anemia.
- Hepatic complications involve elevated enzyme levels.
- Pulmonary complications involve airway obstruction and pneumonia.
Spontaneous recovery in 10 days to 6 months. Fatigue frequently persists for 3 to 6 weeks after other symptoms disappear. A few patients experience a chronic form in which symptoms persist for several months or years.