Mononucleosis, also called mono or the kissing disease, is transmitted through bodily fluids, especially saliva. Hence you can get mono by kissing and sharing drinks, food, or silverware. Rarely, you can get it when an infected person sneezes or coughs near you. It may also be sometimes transmitted through semen or blood; thus, you can get also get it through sexual contact, blood transfusions, or organ transplants. The infection is generally caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) which most children are already exposed to. We can be carriers of EBV without experiencing symptoms. In fact, around 90% of American adults are EBV carriers.
The symptoms, which often last for 4 to 7 weeks, vary from individual to individual; the common ones include fever, sore throat, sore muscles, swollen lymph nodes, and loss of appetite. The complications include liver, heart, blood, and nervous system problems. Most patients feel better after 2 to 4 weeks; however, some experience fatigue for as long as 6 months. The diagnosis is often confirmed with blood tests like complete blood count and antibody tests.