Common Symptoms of Mononucleosis

Infectious Mononucleosis, commonly called Mononucleosis or ‘Mono’ is an infectious disease caused by an organism called ‘Epstein – Barr virus’. The virus can be transmitted through saliva; thus a healthy individual can get infected after a wet kiss. Therefore, the condition is also called ‘Kissing disease’. Epstein – Barr Virus (EBV) is a member of the Herpes virus family. If the infection occurs early in the childhood, it may wane off unnoticed. It also helps in antibody formation which helps our body to resist future infection. Early adulthood is the vulnerable age and if infection occurs at this age, half of the patient will develop Mononucleosis. This is usually a self limiting disease and there is no residual complication. The symptoms of Mononucleosis are more or like flu symptoms.

  • Fever – sudden rise of temperature preceded and associated with chills is the most common symptom. Often the temperature rises up to 39 degree to 40.5 degree Celsius. Fever subsides after a couple of hours or with simple medication.
  • Sore throat – moderate to severe pain in the throat is another common feature in Mononucleosis. The patient finds it very difficult to swallow anything. This is because the tonsils are also infected and the acute tonsillitis causes pain in the throat.
  • Enlarged glands – the EBV colonizes inside the lymph nodes in the throat and neck area. Lymph nodes get inflamed and they become increased in size. Enlarged lymph nodes can also be felt in the armpit and groin.
  • Fatigue – fatigue is among the common symptoms of Mononucleosis. The patient often complains of severe weakness which hampers his daily activities.
  • Gastric disturbances – nausea and vomiting are also frequent in EBV infection. This may be due to gastritis and increased movements inside GI tract.
  • Loss of appetite – as with any other viral infection, Mononucleosis also reduces desire for food. In prolonged infection with EBV, there is loss of weight and the patient may become thin and pale.
  • Rashes in the skin – red blotchy dots may appear in the sun-exposed part of the skin. These rashes may develop abruptly after taking antibiotics (especially amoxicillin for sore throat).
  • Headache – headache and generalized body ache are also common in Mononucleosis.
  • Enlarged spleen – patients suffering from prolonged episode of Mononucleosis, the spleen may enlarge and can be palpated in the left upper part of the abdomen.
  • Jaundice – functions of liver and spleen are compromised after an infection with the EBV. This may lead to yellowish discoloration of skin, high colored urine and itchy skin.
  • Difficulty in respiration – enlarged tonsils may hinder in normal process of respiration.


Source – ikayama

Rare symptoms of Mononucleosis are chest pain (due to pericarditis and inflammation of the muscles of the heart), intense headache (due to inflammation of the meninges – the covering of the brain), anemia (as the enlarged spleen causes rapid rupture of red cells) and pain in the upper part of abdomen (due to hepatitis). Patients usually respond well after hospitalization. The rare but life-threatening complication of Mononucleosis is rupture of spleen. The enlarged spleen may get injured easily after a trivial trauma over the abdomen.

Category: Disease and Conditions

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