Infectious Mononucleosis

What Is It?

Infectious mononucleosis is an illness caused by a viral infection. It is commonly called mononucleosis, or "mono." Mononucleosis is most often caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. In some cases, it is caused by other viruses.

Mononucleosis has been nicknamed the "kissing disease." This is because Epstein-Barr virus commonly is transmitted during kissing. However, sneezes and coughs also can transmit the virus.

Mononucleosis typically occurs the first time a person is infected with Epstein-Barr virus. But infection with Epstein-Barr virus does not always cause mononucleosis. It often causes only a mild illness or no illness at all.

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