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Infectious Mononucleosis

According to the National Institutes of Health, infectious mononucleosis, is an infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. The disease is also known as mono, mononucleosis glandular fever, or kissing disease, because the virus spreads through saliva. Mono occurs most often in 15 to 25-year-olds, however, you can get it at any age. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Swollen spleen

Serious problems are rare. A blood test can show if you have mono. Most people get better in two to four weeks. However, you may feel tired for a few months afterward. Treatment strategies include getting plenty of rest and fluids and alleviating symptoms with remedies such as medicines for pain and fever and warm salt water gargles.

Internet Resources

Mayo Clinic: Infectious Mononucleosis
This Mayo Clinic Web site provides an excellent overview of mononucleosis. The site includes information on symptoms, complications, treatments, drugs, lifestyle and home remedies, and prevention measures.

MedlinePlus: Infectious Mononucleosis
Extensive information about mononucleosis can be found at this National Library of Medicine Web site. Developed specifically for consumers, the site is a portal for credible health information from both government-sponsored and privately-funded sources.

Nemours Foundation, KidsHealth: What’s Mono?
Aimed at a teen audience, this site covers how kids get mononucleosis, signs of mono, and practical advice for those who have the disease.

Lab Tests Online: Mono and Epstein-Barr Virus Antibodies
These sites describe common laboratory tests used to diagnose mononucleosis, when the tests are generally ordered, and how test results are interpreted.

Journals and Journal Articles

  • “Infectious Mononucleosis.” Luzuriaga K and Sullivan J. New England Journal of Medicine. 362(21): 1993-2000. May 27 2010.
  • “Clinical Inquiries. What Test Is The Best For Diagnosing Infectious Mononucleosis?” Bell, A., Fortune, B., and Sheeler, R. Journal of Family Practice. 55(9):799-802, Sep. 2006.
  • “Epstein-Barr Virus Infectious Mononucleosis.” Ebell M. Am Fam Physician. 70(7):1279-87, Oct. 1 2004. [and “Summary for Patients.” 70(7):1289-90.]


  • Netter’s internal medicine. Israel B. Sect. X. “Infectious Diseases,” Ch. 99. “Infectious Mononucleosis.” Runge M and Greganti M, eds. 2009.

Interactive Tutorial

This interactive tutorial provides information on the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), symptoms and treatment of EBV infections in people, and how the immune system works to fight the virus:


The organizations listed in Internet Resources provide support, education and advocacy.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact the Health Learning Centerat 312.926.5465 or HLC@nmh.org.

Last UpdateDecember 2, 2011