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What is infectious mononucleosis?
Infectious mononucleosis, more commonly known as "mono", is a viral illness characterized by flu-like symptoms, fatigue and swollen lymph glands. It's long been nicknamed the "kissing disease" as it's easily transmitted through saliva.
Extremely contagious, mono is also difficult to prevent as many people with the virus display no symptoms. Once you or your child has had mono, the virus remains inactive in the throat and blood cells for life.
What causes infectious mononucleosis?
Mono is either caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) or the cytomegalovirus. Both are members of the herpes simplex virus family. It's often spread through contact with infected saliva (such as kissing, sneezing or sharing a glass). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mono is difficult to prevent because even symptom-free people can carry the virus in their saliva.
Is infectious mononucleosis common?
The Epstein-Barr virus that causes mono is very common. More specifically:
What are the symptoms of infectious mononucleosis?
Mono usually lasts for one to two months. While symptoms may vary child to child, the most common include:
Once you have had mononucleosis, the virus remains inactive in the throat and blood cells for the rest of your life. The virus can reactivate, but usually without symptoms.
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”