Infectious mononucleosis is also known as mono Pfeiffer’s disease or glandular fever and it is characterized with the inflammation of the lymph nodes and persistent fatigue. The disease has been given this name as there is an abnormal, elevated level of mononuclear leukocytes which are basically white blood cells. The disease is commonly caused by EBV (Epstein – Barr virus) while few cases get affected by the cytomegalovirus (CMV). Both EBV and CMV belong to the herpes simplex virus family. Statistically, most of the youngsters in the United States are affected by Epstein Barr virus which is a widespread virus. Moreover, EBV does not present with severe symptoms in children however it gradually progresses to infectious mononucleosis in about fifty percent of adults.
The cytomegalovirus is another form of virus that is characterized by the enlargement of cells in the body. Statistically, about 80 percent of the adults infected with CMV virus basically remain free from symptoms. Moreover EBV causes infectious mononucleosis in majority of the adults. The EBV can reside in the blood cells and throat thus may remain latent for a long period of time. The virus possesses the potential to occur repeatedly by the process of reactivation. The virus remains latent for longer duration without presenting symptoms and may recur from time to time.
The Infectious Mononucleosis Condition
The infectious mononucleosis condition generally lasts for 1 to 2 months. However, the symptoms, especially in adolescents, may differ from person to person. Some of the areas affected with inflammation of the lymph nodes are various parts of the body like neck, groin, and armpits. In addition, symptoms like fever, enlargement of the spleen, continuous fatigue, sore throat due to tonsillitis, difficulty to swallow (dysphagia) and mild liver damage leading to short-term jaundice may be noted. In some cases, the adults may also experience symptoms such as hemorrhaging, abdominal pain, muscle pain, depression, headache, loss of appetite, weakness, skin rash, dizziness, enlargement of the prostate gland, genital swelling, dry cough, swollen and puffy eyes. In few cases, parents may be confused as the symptoms of infectious mononucleosis are very much analogous to other medical disorders so it is recommended to discuss this with a physician.
Generally, EBV virus is acquired by normal people through the saliva (hence the other name of the condition is also called kissing disease), sharing food, drinks and utensils from an infected person. The symptoms of infectious mononucleosis basically last for 1 to 1.5 months and usually will not last more than 4 months. The condition can be easily diagnosed however a complete medical history of the adolescent is required. The adolescent should undergo physical examination and should provide the details about associated symptoms to the physician in order to confirm the diagnosis. The final diagnosis is made after obtaining lab reports such as antibody test, blood test, and (CBC) white blood cell count test.
During treatment, the patient is advised to take rest for at least 1 month and resume with the routine activities once the acute symptoms subside. Proper care should be taken while performing heavy physical activities including sports. Also extensive sports that involve physical contacts should be avoided. Sweet food items should be avoided for few months.
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