Mononucleosis in Children


Infectious mononucleosis is sometimes called mono or the kissing disease. It is triggered most often by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which is in the herpesvirus family of organisms. Most people become infected with EBV eventually in their lives. Like all herpesviruses, EBV remains within the body as soon as a person is infected. The majority of the time, the infection remains in an inactive (hidden) state, however periodically the virus multiplies and is shed in saliva and other body fluids.

Getting the Facts About Infectious Diseases

Epstein-Barr virus is spread out from someone to another in saliva, blood, and other body fluids. Close contact is normally required, such as kissing or sexual contact.

Although the infection can happen at any age, mononucleosis is most typical in people between 15 and 30 years of age.

Symptoms and signs of the Epstein-Barr virus

Many infants and young children infected with EBV have no symptoms or just extremely mild ones. When there are signs and symptoms of mononucleosis, they normally include the following:

In addition to these timeless symptoms, some children may likewise have several of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Puffy eyelids
  • Augmentation of the liver and spleen
  • Reduced appetite
  • Anemia
  • Oversensitivity to light

Some children with EBV infection develop meningitis, brain inflammation (sleeping sickness), and a paralyzing disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome. Sometimes, EBV can cause myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), an irregular decline in the variety of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia), and inflammation of the testes (orchitis).

This virus can cause numerous types of cancer. In Africa, EBV causes Burkitt lymphoma; in Asia, nasopharyngeal cancer; and in the United States, a kind of lymphoma. However, cancer brought on by EBV is unusual. It is not clear why some people infected with the virus get cancer while the huge majority does not. In patients with organ transplants, EBV can cause a malignant disorder called lymphoproliferative disease.

There is a rare genetic disease, seen mostly in boys, where the body can not manage the EBV infection. This severe infection may result in liver failure, decreases in the blood cells, or cancer and is typically deadly. The incubation duration of infectious mononucleosis varieties from 30 to 50 days.

When to Call Your Pediatrician

Contact your pediatrician if your child has the significant symptoms explained here, particularly a fever, sore throat, fatigue, and bigger glands.

How Is the Diagnosis Made?

The medical diagnosis of infectious mononucleosis is generally made through a medical history, physical examination, and blood tests. These tests might consist of a complete blood count to check for uncommon looking white blood cells (atypical lymphocytes). Blood tests can also discover boosts in antibodies against EBV.

Treatment for Mononucleosis in Babies

Much of the treatment for mononucleosis is targeted at making your child more comfy until the infection goes away by itself. For instance

  • Some pediatricians may suggest providing your child acetaminophen to reduce the fever and ease pain.
  • Sore throats can be treated by rinsing with warm water and salt.
  • Bed rest can be crucial for a child feeling tired out.

Since a virus causes mononucleosis, infected children should not be treated with antibacterials.

In a little percentage of EBV-infected children, corticosteroids such as prednisone are offered, however only if specific complications exist, such as swollen tonsils that might block the breathing passages.

Children with infectious mononucleosis need to not participate in contact sports till the swelling of their spleens subsides. If the body is struck in the area of an enlarged spleen, the spleen can rupture or tear open, causing internal bleeding that can cause death. Bear in mind that this is unusual and that mononucleosis seldom results in death.

What Is the Prognosis?

Many cases of infectious mononucleosis clear up in 1 to 3 weeks (although symptoms, particularly tiredness, can last for numerous additional weeks in some children). Patients with abnormal immune systems can have a more severe infection that further damages the immune system, resulting in cancers or death triggered by liver failure and bacterial infections.

Mononucleosis Prevention in Kids

It is hard to prevent the spread of this infection since people who have actually been infected can spread out the infection for the rest of their lives. Your child should prevent infected saliva by not sharing drinking glasses, water bottles, or consuming utensils.

No vaccine is offered to safeguard versus infectious mononucleosis.

Prevention Tip

When to share when not to share? Your child should not share drinking glasses, water bottles, or consuming utensils, which can carry infected saliva.

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