Infectious mononucleosis, also known as mono, is a contagious disease most commonly caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). It is most frequently found in teenagers and young adults, but anyone can get it.
- Typical symptoms of mono usually appear 4-6 weeks after exposure to EBV.
- Extreme fatigue
- Sore throat
- Head and body aches
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpits
- Swollen liver or spleen or both
How is it spread?
Mono is mostly spread through contact with an infected person’s saliva. It can be contracted through sharing drinks, food, toothbrushes, lipstick and silverware, through kissing and from someone’s cough or sneeze.
Rest and adequate fluids is the most efficient treatment. As mono is caused by a virus, antibiotics will not be given unless the person develops strep throat (10% of cases). Symptoms usually go away after 3-4 weeks of rest.
Returning to School
Students may return to school once they are fever free for a minimum of 24 hours, without the aid of fever reducing medication, and physically feel ready. A slow return to activity may be needed with added periods of rest. A medical provider’s written approval is required before returning to any school related physical activity.
For more information about mono and the Epstein-Barr virus, please see the CDC website.