What is mononucleosis?
Mononucleosis is a disease caused by infection of certain blood cells with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).
How is this virus spread?
The virus is spread from person-to-person by saliva (on hands, toys, or by kissing). In rare instances, the virus can be spread through a blood transfusion.
Who gets mononucleosis?
While most people are exposed to the EBV sometime in their lives, very few become ill. Infection with the EBV is seen more often in high school and college students. Most adults have been exposed to the EBV by the age of 18 years and are immune.
What are the symptoms of mononucleosis?
Symptoms include fever, sore throat, swollen glands, and tiredness. Sometimes, the liver and spleen are affected. Symptoms can last from one to several weeks. The disease rarely causes death.
How soon do symptoms appear?
Symptoms appear from 4 to 6 weeks after exposure to someone with the disease.
How long is a person able to spread the virus?
The virus can stay in the throat for up to a year after infection.
What is the treatment for mononucleosis?
No treatment other than rest is needed in most cases.
How can mononucleosis be prevented?
Avoid activities involving the transfer of body fluids (commonly saliva) with someone who is currently or recently sick.
This fact sheet is for informational purposes only. It should not be used for self-diagnosis or as a substitute for consultation with a health care provider. If you think that you may have this infection, or have questions about the disease described above, you should consult your health care provider.
For additional information on this disease, visit the Centers or Disease Control and Prevention website.
To contact the Epidemiology and Emerging Infections Program, please call 860-509-7994.