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Last change: October 7, 1995.

Mono or Glandular Fever

When you start out with mono it is hard to determine if your case is just a tough one or that it's in fact CFS hiding in the clothes of a sheep.

Many people I know have had mono for something like a year. Some of them even several years. It is surprising that this fact is not acknowledged by doctors. They still say mono is a matter of weeks, perhaps months. Definitely not a year.

Actually, mono is short for infectious mononucleosis. Mono is also known as glandular fever. In Dutch it's called the Pfeiffer disease, named after a probably German doctor.


The symptoms are fever, severe sore throat, swollen lymph nodes around the neck, feeling tired, nausea, loss of appetite and sometimes widespread rash and abdominal pain. Also mentioned are muscular pains, headaches, swollen lymph nodes around the jaw, neck, groin and under the arms.

Mono is said to be caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which is a member of the herpes family. Mono is most likely to result with older children and young adults, although no age group is immune. Information from the New York State Department of Health states that most people will be exposed to the virus sometime in life and that very few go on to develop the symptoms of mono.

According to the Handbook of Vera Parker well over 90% of all adults test positive for the Epstein-Barr virus. The resulting illness manifests itself as a something like a flu with children. With young adults it can be very debilitating.

The New York Department of Health estimates the duration of the disease to be from one to several weeks. Mono is vary rarely fatal. After the initial infection, the virus tends to become dormant for a prolonged period but can later reactivate.
According to the University Health Service, University of Chicago, the symptoms usually persist for two to three weeks, but can continue for months. The prognosis for complete recovery is excellent, with complications being exceedingly rare. As with any viral disease, treatment is symptomatic and conservative. Bed rest is indicated for extreme fatigue and for as long as fever persists. Throat gargles and the use of aspirin or acetaminophen usually relieve the symptoms of sore throat and muscle aches.

The medical encyclopaedia of CompuServe points out the danger of affecting the liver and the spleen. Preliminary research also suggests that the Epstein-Barr virus might result in a chronigue disease with roughly the same symptoms as mono. The exact relation to mono still has to be determined.

Harry Bosma is looking forward to comments or suggestions at hbosma@xs4all.nl. He does not give dream interpretations.

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