infectious mononucleosis

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mononucleosis, infectious

(mŏn'əno͞o'klēō`sĭs), acute infectious disease of older children and young adults, occurring sporadically or in epidemic form, also known as mono, glandular fever, and kissing disease. The causative organism is a herpesvirus known as Epstein-Barr virusEpstein-Barr virus
(EBV), herpesvirus that is the major cause of infectious mononucleosis and is associated with a number of cancers, particularly lymphomas in immunosuppressed persons, including persons with AIDS.
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. The disease occurs most often in patients between the ages of 15 and 35. The virus is present in the saliva; it is usually spread by sharing a glass or kissing. Symptoms usually take 30 to 50 days to develop.

Diagnosis of mononucleosis follows the exhibition of a large number of abnormal white blood cells (lymphocytes) on microscopic blood examination. These blood cells have a single nucleus that give the disease its name. Symptoms are varied but include enlarged lymph nodes, sore throat, fever, enlarged spleen in about half the cases, and excessive fatigue. Occasional rashes and throat and mouth infections occur. Liver inflammation is common. Fatalities are very rare and, when they do occur, usually result from splenic rupture. General therapeutic measures include bed rest and treatment of symptoms.

Infectious mononucleosis

A disease of children and young adults, characterized by fever and enlarged lymph nodes and spleen. EB (Epstein-Barr) herpesvirus is the causative agent.

Onset of the disease is slow and nonspecific with variable fever and malaise; later, cervical lymph nodes enlarge, and in about 50% of cases the spleen also becomes enlarged. The disease lasts 4–20 days or longer. Epidemics are common in institutions where young people live. EB virus infections occurring in early childhood are usually asymptomatic. In later childhood and adolescence, the disease more often accompanies infection—although even at these ages inapparent infections are common. See Epstein-Barr virus

Mononucleosis, Infectious


also monocytic angina, glandular fever, or Filatov’s disease (named for N. F. Filatov, who described it in 1885), an acute infectious disease accompanied by fever, sore throat, enlargement of the lymph nodes, and characteristic changes in blood composition. The agent is most likely a filterable virus pathogenic to humans and the Anthropoidea.

Infected individuals and healthy individuals that are carriers are the source of the disease, which is transmitted by airborne droplets through sneezing and coughing; children are most often affected. The virus penetrates the blood vessels through the mucosa of the respiratory tract, spreads through the bloodstream, and affects the lymph nodes. After an incubation period of six to 18 days, malaise sets in accompanied by fever and soreness of the throat upon swallowing. A thin coating appears on the tonsils. A characteristic sign of the disease is the enlargement of the cervical lymph nodes, which are not tender, are not matted to one another, and never suppurate. Sometimes there are rashes on the skin and mucosa, which are frequently caused by petechial hemorrhage; the liver and spleen are enlarged. A characteristic change in the blood is the increase in the number of leukocytes, among which are large numbers of mononuclear cells whose structure is similar to that of lymphocytes and monocytes. The fever lasts from a few days to three or four weeks. Most of those infected by the disease recover without complications. There is no specific treatment; patients are isolated during the entire course of the disease.

infectious mononucleosis

[in′fek·shəs ‚män·ō‚nü·klē′ō·səs]
A disorder of unknown etiology characterized by irregular fever, pathology of lymph nodes, lymphocytosis, and high serum levels of heterophil antibodies against sheep erythrocytes. Also known as acute benign lymphoblastosis; glandular fever; kissing disease; lymphocytic angina; monocytic angina; Pfeiffer's disease.

infectious mononucleosis

an acute infectious disease, caused by Epstein-Barr virus, characterized by fever, sore throat, swollen and painful lymph nodes, and abnormal lymphocytes in the blood
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