Mononucleosis and Epstein-Barr: What's the connection?
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Jan 11, 2023.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is one of the most common viruses that people catch. It can cause a disease called mononucleosis, also known as mono. But when most people get EBV, they have no symptoms.
It takes more than a cough or sneeze to spread EBV. The virus spreads from person to person mainly through saliva. You can catch it from an infected person by doing things such as:
- Sharing food and drinks.
- Sharing cups, utensils or toothbrushes.
In the United States, at least 1 in 4 teenagers and young adults with EBV get mono. The disease can cause symptoms such as:
- Extreme tiredness.
- Sore throat.
- Headaches and body aches.
- Swollen lymph nodes.
- Swelling in the liver, spleen or both.
There's no clear-cut treatment for mono. You can take steps to ease the symptoms by:
- Drinking water or other fluids to stay hydrated.
- Geting lots of rest.
- Taking medicine that you can get without a prescription for pain and fever.
Some people need treatment for other health problems caused by mono. But most people with the disease get better within a month.