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Infectious Diseases

Immunity decreaased following mononucleosis

12/26/2001

Question:

I am 69 years old, male, physically active as a handball and tennis player, and mentally active as a 50 hour per week professional. Prior to March 2000, I was very, very rarely ill. In March 2000, I had mononucleosis. I was told that my recovery was relatively rapid, having had a two-week work layoff and a three- to four-week handball layoff. In the Winter 2000, I had a cold. In May 2001, I had the shingles. Again, I was told that my recovery was relatively quick, having had a three-day work layoff and a two-week handball layoff. In September 2001, I had a cold. Now, I have another cold. (Sorry for the long-winded history.) Could my bout with mono have caused a substantial loss of my immunity defenses? If so, what can I do to recover these defenses? Can you given me contact information about experts on this subject who are physically located in Westchester County, NY or in the lower Mid-Hudson Valley? Thank you very much.

Answer:

Infectious mononucleosis, usually caused by Epstein-Barr virus, can cause temporary disturbances in the immune system but does not generally cause permanent changes in the immune system. Shingles is more common in people greater than 50 years of age. I do not have a complete list of Infectious Diseases specialists in your geographic area, but Westchester County Medical Center does have a large Infectious Diseases division and may be a good place to start.

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Response by:

Amy Beth Kressel, MD
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati