The Kissing Disease
Posted On March 3, 2017
Mononucleosis, often referred to as the “kissing disease,” or Mono, is a viral illness that leaves its host feeling tired and weak for months. The “kissing disease,” is actually transmitted through saliva, so it is common at high schools with all the adolescents and young adults who tend to share drinks with best friends who may have, unknowingly, contracted Mono.
According to the Mayo Clinic Staff, 80 percent of the time, the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is the beginning of Mononucleosis. Epstein-Barr virus is a member of the herpes virus family, one of the most common human viruses. Mono will have periods of time where it seems to be dormant, then, when one is under too much stress, flare ups may occur in different forms; fever, swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpits, headache, skin rash, loss of appetite, and night sweats. Usually, after one to two months, Mono may resolve, but EBV can remain in a few cells for the rest of someones life. According to M.D., James M. Steckelberg, 95 percent of adults between the ages of 35 and 40 have already been infected with Epstein-Barr virus, but, the disease usually occurs during adolescence, causing Mono 35 to 50 percent of the time in healthy teens.
Mononucleosis has been known to cause an enlarged spleen, an organ involved in maintaining proper blood cell ratios. In extreme cases, the spleen may rupture, causing a sharp, sudden pain in the left side of the upper abdomen. In rare cases, it may lead to; Hepatitis, a mild liver inflammation, or Jaundice, the yellowing of ones skin and occasionally the whites of the eyes. Under different circumstances, the following may occur; Anemia, a decrease in red blood cells and hemoglobin (an iron rich protein in red blood cells), Thrombocytopenia, a low count in platelets (cells involved in clotting), inflammation of the heart, and swollen tonsils, which would lead to obstructed breathing.
Then, there is Infectious Mononucleosis: which is caused by Cytomegalovirus (CMV), also a member of the herpes virus family. CMV is not as communicable as EBV, but once someone has it, CMV never goes away, making it a high risk infection considering if a mother who is infected with CMV would transfer the Cytomegalovirus to the fetus. Despite being so like Epstein-Barr virus, CMV is not limited to contraction through saliva or sweat: Cytomegalovirus may be transferred through organ transplants and blood transfusions, going without many symptoms if any at all, according to the Department of Health of New York. If there are any, symptoms usually occur when first infected, during primary CMV. Symptoms are normally very much like those of Mononucleosis, but usually are mild and short-lived, or, come in the facade of a different illness. Although, the seriousness of the CMV or EBV infection depends on ones overall health, Infectious Mononucleosis goes without a cure, yet, any type of treatment usually consists of bed rest, drinking plenty of fluids, and gargling warm salt water to relieve the sore throat.