Infectious mononucleosis: The kissing disease

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Infectious mononucleosis: The kissing disease

Fatigue, fever, no appetite, swollen glands in the neck, armpits and English … If you have all or some of these symptoms, you may be developing “the kissing disease”, a contagious infection of little importance in adolescence.

Teens frontline
Benign in the vast majority of cases
Infectious mononucleosis
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Infectious mononucleosis, often called “the kissing disease”, as it is transmitted through saliva, is a benign infection caused by a virus of the herpes family, the Epstein-Barr virus. This virus is often found in adolescents and young adults.

Teens frontline
Epstein-Barr virus which causes the disease, has the particularity develop within a particular class of white blood cells that have a single core, the mononuclear cells, hence the name of the disease. The virus is contained in the saliva but possibly also propagates through coughing and expectoration. The incubation period comprises between 2 and 6 weeks and increases with age. The infection occurs most often between the ages of 10 and 35 years and may, in adolescents, disseminated in the form of small epidemics.

The diagnosis is usually suspected from clinical signs and changes in the blood picture (increase in lymphocytes), should be confirmed by serological tests that identify the presence of specific antibodies.

Benign in the vast majority of cases
Most of the time, mononucleosis is an entirely benign disease, it may even go unnoticed. Symptoms may be minimal in preadolescents. Turn is estimated that 9 out of 10 adults have already contracted the disease without damage.

Fatigue linked to the disease, which can be quite important, will disappear in a few weeks or, at most, in some months. But sometimes it can be mistaken in its infancy with severe hematological diseases such as Hodgkin’s disease and become a source of unnecessary worry.

However, in adolescents, the manifestations can sometimes be important and, in some cases, lead to:

Breathing problems related to enlarged lymph nodes.
A yellowish hue due to a liver ailment.
A volume increase of the spleen, and even rupture, although this rarely.
Attacks meningeal, nerve, heart, or autoimmune reactions.
Faced with infectious mononucleosis can not do much more than wait. No special protection measures, it is not possible to protect against viral shedding. Also, to repeat once more, the disease is not serious in the vast majority of cases. Anyway, it would be difficult to avoid contact with a virus that is found in the saliva of 20% of adults. He is studying a vaccine could be developed but only to treat particular risk groups.

Medical possibilities are highly limited. This being a viral infection, the use of specific treatments (interferon, acyclovir) is generally reserved for forms of the disease suffered by immunocompromised individuals. Antipyretic drugs (aspirin or other) may be helpful to reduce fever when it exceeds 39 ° C.

Finally, you can take invigorating in the convalescent phase to recover more quickly. The most useful measure is rest. Superinfection if a streptococcal tonsillitis, may be used but avoiding antibiotics penicillin derivatives (ampicillin), since they may cause a rash and improve symptoms of the disease.

Naturist Alfonso Martinez

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