Definition: an acute febrile illness of young adults, caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, a member of the Herpesviridae family; frequently spread by saliva transfer; characterized by fever, sore throat, enlargement of lymph nodes and spleen, and leukopenia that changes to lymphocytosis during the second week; the circulating blood usually contains abnormal, large T lymphocytes that resemble monocytes even though B cells are infected, and there is heterophil antibody that may be completely adsorbed on beef erythrocytes, but not on guinea pig kidney antigen. Collections of the characteristic abnormal lymphocytes may be present not only in the lymph nodes and spleen, but in various other sites, such as the meninges, brain, and myocardium.
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