Glandular fever, otherwise known as infectious mononucleosis, is a kind of viral infection. Some of the signs and symptoms that are associated with glandular fever are fever, sore throat, fatigue, and lymph node and glandular swelling.
Glandular fever is brought about by the Epstein-Barr virus, a kind of virus that commonly affects humans. EBV infections are oftentimes seen among children, producing very mild symptoms, if at all. The catch to this, though, is that when one is hit with the infection, the EBV will stay on in the body, particularly in the throat and blood stream, waiting for an opportunity to manifest itself.
An EBV infection that manifests during adolescence and early adult years will bring about glandular fever. Indeed, there is a notable increase in the incidence of glandular fever in the 15 to 25 age group. This does not mean, however, that glandular fever is exclusive to the teenagers and young adults: anyone from any age group can be afflicted as well.
The body mounts its defense against the infection by getting its immune system to produce corresponding antibodies. This process renders the body immune from succeeding episodes of glandular fever.
The Epstein-Barr virus is highly transmissible, as it can be easily be contracted from the saliva of an infected person. The most notorious manner by which the virus can be passed on is through kissing. Because of this, the infection has earned the monicker "kissing disease". Other ways of transmitting the virus is being in close proximity with an infected person who is coughing or sneezing, and through the use of eating utensils such as spoon, fork, glass, plate, and the like.
Once infected, a person stays contagious for an average of two months, although the virus has been demonstrated to be present in the saliva of infected subjects for up to eighteen months post-infection.
Glandular fever has no known cure yet. However, the symptoms that the disease produces are self-limiting, all occurring within four to six weeks. For some patients, fatigue may linger a little longer, lasting for three months. Otherwise, many recover fully from the infection.
Glandular fever rarely leads to complications, but when it does, it can be serious. Some of these grave complications are rupture of the spleen which is a surgical emergency, and a superimposed infection, like pneumonia.
Before enumerating the signs and symptoms of glandular fever, a clarification in the definition of terms is in order. A symptom is a subjective feeling, something that a patient reports to the doctor. A sign, on the other hand, can be observed even by a third party. An example of a symptom is headache, and an example of a sign is rash.
Incubation time refers to the amount of time from the actual infection to the manifestation of signs and symptoms. The incubation period for glandular fever is around one to two months. This period may even be shorter among children.
Sore throat and fever may be present for about two weeks, while lymph node swelling and easy fatigability may persist a little longer, lasting for some months.
EBV, or Epstein-Barr virus, is the common offending entity in glandular fever. A person who has not built any immunity yet against the virus may get infected once he gets in contact with the saliva of an infected person. Once this happens, the lining of the throat will be the first to be affected. This will then send signals to the nearby B lymphocytes, which are white blood cells. The B lymphocytes then become vehicles for the virus to circulate in the body.
CMV, or Cytomegalovirus, and Rubella virus (German measles) can also bring about glandular fever. Some of the symptoms of glandular fever can also manifest among patients with toxoplasmosis. Glandular fever that is not caused by EBV is usually the type of infection that can be deleterious to the development of the fetus. As such, exposed pregnant women may have to be given antibodies and antibiotics.
There is no known cure for glandular fever at present. The symptoms, however, can be abated through the following measures: