G: What Is Glandular Fever?

02/04/2010 10:25 | Updated 22 May 2015

Glandular fever, or infectious mononucleosis, is a viral infection that causes a sore throat, extreme fatigue and swollen lymph nodes (which are normally found in the neck).

The infection is passed on via saliva (which is why it is known as the kissing disease) but it can also be passed on via droplets in the air (for example, sneezing).

After an incubation period of 30 to 50 days, the symptoms of glandular fever will begin to present themselves.

Alongside a sore throat, tiredness and swollen lymph glands, it also causes muscle pain, headaches, fever and flu like symptoms.

Diagnosis is usually made through an analysis of the symptoms, throat swab and blood test. However, some individuals may carry the infection without any symptoms appearing.

Glandular fever usually affects children and young adults between the ages of 10 and 25. Once the symptoms are evident, they usually last between two to four weeks. In the vast majority of cases, these pass without complication. However, in around three per cent of cases, glandular fever may persist.

There is no treatment for glandular fever other than plenty of rest. Once the infection has left the body, the individual will be immune to the infection and will not catch it again.

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