If you had been affected by chicken pox once, you are unlikely to get it again. Does it hold good for mono (scientifically called infectious mononucleosis) as well. Read on to know the facts behind.
Mono (mononucleosis) is also called kissing disease or a glandular fever. It is triggered by an onset of Epstein-Barr virus (commonly known as EBV). This medical condition shows up through a few characteristic symptoms such as fever, soreness of throat, swelling of your lymph node, weakness, etc. The other signs related to this condition include headache, tiredness, muscular pain, inflammation of your neck (this is due to the swelling of lymph nodes there; in some instances it can show up as swelling of tonsils), etc.
There is no known treatment for this condition. Your treating doctor may recommend you to drink a lot of fluids (such as water) and may advise you to take needful rest. This condition may go off its own. But, it may consume anywhere between several weeks to a few months for it to go off.
EBV belongs to the herpesvirus genre. The condition is named as mono because it affects only a particular type of blood cells (WBC) known as lymphocytes. You may get it through physical contact; especially kissing or through sexual intercourse. Common carriers of EBV are either blood, saliva or other fluids from one’s body. It has also been observed that sharing drinks and foods among infected people can also trigger an incidence.
Getting affected by mono for the second time
Clinical experts observe that the chances of getting a second attack of mono is almost zero. This is because there has been no clinical evidence for its second coming. Nor are there any documentary proofs of it showing up for the second time. But when the virus strikes again, it may not show up with the usual signs.
How is it diagnosed?
Its diagnosis is done through blood tests. It is often detected by eliminating the chances of other medical conditions. As the condition affects lymphocytes of a unique genre, it is termed as mono. Once all other possibilities are rejected, focussed testing of antibodies can confirm the incidence of mono. The key signals to look for are, enlargement of your liver, fattening of your spleen, drop in the number of immune cells as well as reduced count of your platelets (also known as cells that help blood to clot), etc.
There are a few other conditions that may also trigger signs similar to mono. These are infections of your throat caused by bacterial attacks, a virus called as cytomegalovirus (also known as CMV; though its infection is very similar to mono, it rarely affects your throat), infections of your liver triggered by virus, etc.
Where does the virus reside?
Once you contact the virus, it is unlikely to leave your body. It is seen to reside in your tissues and also in your immune system. But, this virus remains inactive and it is the reason why you are not likely to get this medical condition again.
Odds of its return
The odds of this virus turning active again are very slim. It may turn active again while your immune system is not robust enough to withstand its presence. People with blood cancer, HIV infections or AIDS may experience a second attack of mono. It has also been observed to show up again in people who recently had a transplant surgery (renal or liver transplants). In its rarest sightings, the virus is known to have become active among women who are pregnant.
A robust level of immunity means your immune cells (also called as natural killers) focus on destroying EBV, and also on those cells that act as dormant carriers of this virus. People whose immune cells fail to destroy the virus are exposed to added risks of getting mono twice. It has been observed to show up again even among people who have fairly strong immunity levels. This is found to occur when the potency of the virus is found to be strong.
In very remote instances, the signs of mono have been seen to last a longer time. The typical duration in such instances can be as long as five months. There are also stray cases wherein mono has returned again in less than five months of its first occurrence. Such instances are called as chronic viral infections triggered by the onset of Epstein-Barr virus. These chronic conditions are observed more among people living in tropical regions, especially central and south Americas, Asia, etc. People living in countries like Mexico have increasingly reported the occurrence of mono twice.
How to avoid mono?
The best known approach to prevent an attack of mono is to stay away from people who may have mono. Make sure not to share personal items such as toothbrushes with people who may be sick or are suspected to have mono. Kissing those who may have a history of mono can also add the risks of your getting it.
Time to see a doctor
Doctors can help diagnose the condition as well as start needful treatment. So, if you are observing signs such as soreness of your throat, swelling in your neck region as well as unexplained tiredness, it is time to see a doctor.
On the other hand, if you experience symptoms such as stiffening of your neck, gasping for breath, discoloration of your eyes or skin and persistent spell of weariness, you may have to seek medical attention on an emergency basis.
In sum, you need not worry about mono occurring twice. However, in very rare cases, there had been an incidence of mono for the second time. Stay aware of the causes and the signs to ensure prevention as well as timely medical attention respectively.