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Infectious Diseases

Can you tell me more about mono?

03/10/2006

Question:

I am a 63 year old retired grandmother. I have mononucleosis. Wondering how I caught this. I am extremely clean in my home and on myself. BUT, my daughter is a schoolteacher and I am afraid through the children she may have spread this to me. My daughter also just went to her doctor to be tested for mono with the same systems as I have. My question is: I babysit my little 20 month old granddaughter a few days a week (starting again today after 2 months). Can she catch mono just from the air in my home? Is it safe for me to babysit her? How will I know when the mono is gone? Is there some test. I have been sick since the first of January and was diagnosed 3 weeks ago--finally after I complained repeatedly to my doctor that I was extremely fatigued, hot a fever and night sweats. Thank you in advance for the reply.

Answer:

Transmission of EBV requires intimate contact with the saliva (found in the mouth) of an infected person. Transmission of this virus through the air or blood does not normally occur. The incubation period, or the time from infection to appearance of symptoms, ranges from 4 to 6 weeks. Persons with infectious mononucleosis may be able to spread the infection to others for a period of weeks. However, no special precautions or isolation procedures are recommended, since the virus is also found frequently in the saliva of healthy people. In fact, many healthy people can carry and spread the virus intermittently for life. These people are usually the primary reservoir for person-to-person transmission. For this reason, transmission of the virus is almost impossible to prevent.

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Response by:

Pamposh   Kaul, MD Pamposh Kaul, MD
Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati