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Mononucleosis

What is mononucleosis?

Mononucleosis (mono) is a virus commonly seen on college campuses. Mono is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which is one of the most common viruses worldwide; most people become infected with EBV at some point in their lives.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Initial symptoms can be quite debilitating with severe fatigue being most prominent. Other symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph glands

How is mononucleosis spread?

Most young people have the infection as small children, but there is a secondary spike in infections among young adults when there is frequent exchange of mouth and throat secretions (e.g., kissing, sharing drinks).

How do you prevent mononucleosis?

Avoid sharing beverages and eating utensils, cigarettes (including vapes and Juuls), or other personal items.

How do you diagnose and treat mononucleosis?

The condition is diagnosed by the Health Center with a rapid test done in our laboratory. Approximately 50 cases per year are diagnosed and treated. Students with mono are followed by our clinicians very closely for the first month to identify complications and to ensure resolution of the infection. Symptoms usually resolve in 1 or 2 months, but the virus may remain dormant in the throat or blood for the rest of the person’s life.