Mononucleosis history and symptoms

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


Symptoms of infectious mononucleosis are fever, sore throat, and swollen lymph glands. Sometimes, a splenomegaly or hepatomegaly may develop. Heart problems or involvement of the central nervous system occurs only rarely, and infectious mononucleosis is almost never fatal. There are no known associations between active EBV infection and problems during pregnancy, such as miscarriages or birth defects. Although the symptoms of infectious mononucleosis usually resolve in 1 or 2 months, EBV remains dormant or latent in a few cells in the throat and blood for the rest of the person's life. Periodically, the virus can reactivate and is commonly found in the saliva of infected persons. This reactivation usually occurs without symptoms of illness.

History and Symptoms

Active EBV Infection


  • In small children, the course of the disease is frequently asymptomatic.
  • Majority of adults infected with mono also remain asymptomatic with serological evidence of past infection.

Initial Prodrome

  • Incubation period: 1-2 months
  • Common symptoms include:
  • Other symptoms that have been described in patients with EBV infection include:
  • Uncommon symptoms include:

Atypical Rare Presentations

  • Neurological involvement:
  • Cardiac involvement:
  • Abdominal involvement:

Chronic EBV Infection

  • The course of the disease can also be chronic presenting with chronic fatigue syndrome which is a variant of mononucleosis


  1. Chapman AL, Watkin R, Ellis CJ (2002). "Abdominal pain in acute infectious mononucleosis". BMJ. 324 (7338): 660–1. doi:10.1136/bmj.324.7338.660. PMID 11895827.

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