Infectious mononucleosis or Kissing disease is an infection caused by a member of the Herpesviridae family of DNA viruses known as Human Herpesvirus number 4 or Epstein-Barr virus.  This virus is very common and present in body fluids like saliva.
A large number of the population is exposed to this virus before the age of 40 but many people do not develop symptoms at all. Those who do develop symptoms usually recover after a short period.
The commonest method of transmission is by direct contact with the body fluids of an infected person. This happens through kissing, sexual activities, sharing of toothbrushes, food utensils, cups, and so on.
Other people who are at risk of contracting the virus include; patients undergoing blood transfusion, transplant patients, people with compromised or weak immune systems, patients receiving therapy or medications that weaken the immune system. These people are at risk of severe or repeated illness.
Symptoms of Infection
Symptoms of infection vary with age. In children, the symptoms are usually mild but in young adults, the symptoms can be severe. The most common symptoms of this infection include;
- High fever
- Body aches
- Weakness or tiredness
- Sore throat
- Swollen glands in the neck and underarms
- Spleen enlargement
- Body rash
These symptoms usually resolve after 2-4 weeks, especially in young adults. However, feelings of tiredness may continue for months after other symptoms have subsided. Most people usually get better and return to their normal activities after a short period of illness.