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Infectious Mononucleosis in Children

  • Overview

    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.

    • Mono is contagious and difficult to prevent.
    • Symptoms last about one to two months.
    • Once you have had mono, the virus remains inactive in the throat and blood cells for the rest of your life.
    • Almost 95 percent of adults have been exposed to the virus.
    • Antibiotics don't work; the best treatment is rest and plenty of fluids.

    How Boston Children's Hospital approaches mononucleosis

    Children's has created two Web sites directly aimed at young women and young men to discuss conditions that they may be exposed to, including mono. The mission of these Web sites ( and is to help teens, their parents, teachers and health care providers improve their understanding of normal health and development, as well as specific diseases and conditions.

The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO