Infectious mononucleosis is a viral disease that
affects certain blood cells. It is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which is a member of the herpes virus family. Most cases occur sporadically;
outbreaks are rare.
Who gets infectious mononucleosis?
While most people are exposed to the Epstein-Barr
virus sometime in their lives, very few develop the
symptoms of infectious mononucleosis.
In underdeveloped countries, children are exposed in
early childhood and are unlikely to develop
In developed countries such as
the United States, the age of first exposure may be
delayed to older childhood and young adult age
when symptoms are more likely to result.
For this reason, it is recognized more often in high-school
and college students.
How is infectious mononucleosis spread?
The virus is spread by person-to-person contact, via
saliva (on hands or toys or by kissing). In rare
instances, the virus has been transmitted by blood transfusion.
What are the symptoms of infectious
Sometimes, the liver and spleen are
Duration is from one to several weeks. The
disease is very rarely fatal. Very young children may
not have any symptoms after being infected.
How soon do symptoms appear?
Symptoms appear from 4 to 6 weeks after exposure.
How long is a person able to spread infectious
The virus is shed from the throat during the illness
and for up to one year after infection.
initial infection, the virus tends to become dormant for a prolonged period and can later reactivate and
be shed from the throat again.
What is the treatment for infectious
No treatment other than rest is needed in the vast
majority of cases. People with severe sore throats
should see their doctor.
Can a person get infectious mononucleosis
People who get the illness rarely get it again.
What can a person do to minimize the spread
of infectious mononucleosis?
Avoid activities involving the transfer of body fluids (commonly saliva) with someone who is currently or was recently infected with the disease.
there is no vaccine available to prevent infectious
Where can I get more information?
Contact your physician or the Southern Nevada Health District, Office of Epidemiology at (702) 759-1300.