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Mononucleosis (Mono)

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What Increases Your Risk

Mono is usually caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). You are at increased risk of getting mono if you:

  • Are age 15 to 24, especially if you are in close contact with many people.1 In the United States, college students, nurses, and people in the military are most likely to get mono.
  • Have intimate contact with a person who has mono or an active EBV infection. (A brief kiss on the lips is not likely to spread EBV. It is spread when saliva from an infected person gets into another person's mouth.)
  • Share drinking glasses, eating utensils, dishes, or a toothbrush with an infected person. A person does not have to have symptoms of mono to spread EBV.

After you have been infected with EBV, the virus may stay in your body for the rest of your life. But you will not get mono again.

Recommended Related to

Understanding Mononucleosis -- Treatment

The wide range of symptoms associated with mononucleosis can make diagnosis difficult. Your doctor will begin by giving you a complete physical exam. A throat culture may be taken to rule out strep throat, which has similar symptoms. The doctor may take a blood sample to look for the presence of abnormal white blood cells. A heterophile antibody test, commonly called a “Monospot,” may also  be done. This test examines the blood for special antibodies that your body produces in response to a viral...

Read the Understanding Mononucleosis -- Treatment article > >

EBV is not spread through the air. You can live with a person who has mono and never become infected with the virus.

Most people have been infected with EBV before, so they usually don't get mono when they are exposed to a person who has it.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 30, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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