Mononucleosis is an infectious disease of humans in which the blood andtissues contain mononuclear leukocytes (white blood cells with only one nucleus),either monocytes or lymphocytes. An infectious disease is a disease that cangive you an infection, can be transmitted by infection without actual contact,or can be caused by a microorganism. All species of animals are afflicted withinfections caused by a wide variety of organisms, from submicroscopic viruses towormlike parasites. When a person has an infectious disease like mono theorganism gains access to the patients body, survives, and then multiples. Next,the patient gets the symptoms.
Then the patient may die or recoverspontaneously, or the infection may respond to specific therapy. Often there isan immunity. Infectious diseases have strongly influenced the course of historyon Earth. The organisms responsible for human infections are viruses. Virusesare simple life forms consisting of nucleic acid, encoding genetic information ,and surface components of protein that enable them to enter cells.
Viruses areunable to multiple outside of cells. Mono is found in the DNA in the body. Another name for mononucleosis is glandular fever because of the fever andswelling of the lymph nodes throughout the body. What causes mononucleosis isthe Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which is like herpes. The herpes virus alsocauses some cases of mono and other diseases.
Mono usually occurs in adults 15to 30 years old, but is known to appear at any age. Mono symptoms include fever, chills, fatigue, malaise, sore throat,head-aches, swelling of the lymph nodes (noticeable in the neck), and skinrashes. Liver inflammation may occur. Also, swelling of the upper eyelids is acommon symptom. In some cases blood may be found in the urine.
The throat isoften red; a membrane, white to dark gray in color and resembling that ofdiphtheria, may be present. In many cases there is a petechial rash on the softpalate. Mono is mostly transmitted by oral contact with exchange of saliva,that is why it is sometimes known as the ” kissing disease. “Sharing a cup isanother way to get mono. It is not highly contagious. The incubation period isthought to be about 30 to 40 days.
In about two/thirds of the patients thespleen is enlarged. The illness is mild to moderate, death is rare, but in somecases a patient may die of rupturing the spleen. A rash consisting of smallhemorrhages or resembling measles or scarlet fever sometimes appears. Also,pneumonia occurs in about 2 percent of the infected patients. Although,involvement of the liver occurs almost in all the patients, but severe diseaseof the liver is rare. Encephalitis, meningitis, or peripheral neuritis occursuncommonly.
Death has followed encephalitis. While having mono, the heart israrely affected. During the illness antibodies develop. One way to detect this is by thePaul Bunnell test. The diagnosis is made by studying the blood. A sample ofthe serum (clear liquid) of the patient’s blood is mixed with sheep’s blood.
Ifthe patient has the disease, the sheep’s blood cells will stick together. Thereis no treatment, but bed rest is suggested depending on the seriousness. Medical care is for relief of symptoms and prevention of secondary infections. Mono usually lasts for about a week or two or sometimes it may persist forseveral weeks, especially when the liver or nervous system is affected.
Arelapse occurs uncommonly, and second attacks are probably very rare. Recoverymay take several months. The disease known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or”yuppie disease ” resembles mono. For a while the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome wassuspected of also being caused by EBV, but this theory has been discounted.Still no cure or therapy has been found to help us with the infectious diseasecalled mononucleosis.Category: Science