Re: A strange case of mono
Hi there C93,
Mononucleosis is simply a syndrome which is normally caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, though which can be caused by other viruses (and some bacteria) as well. The symptoms can range from person to person, but the classic symptoms are fatigue, fevers and a sore throat. Other organs can become involved too including the spleen and liver. Testing for mono has two parts to it:
#1. First you test to see if you actually have mono with a "heterophile antibody test" more well known as the "Monospot". Monospot positive means you are either sick with mono currently, or you are recovering from a bout of mono which happened in the last three months. If you've had mono, recovered and it's been MORE than about three months, the monospot should be negative.
#2. Secondly, the doctors will try to test for evidence of infection with one of the more common viruses that cause this condition. The most common is Epstein-Barr virus; however, it should be noted that MANY MANY healthy individuals have been exposed to the EB virus, and are totally healthy and asymptomatic.
In your case, because of the sore throat and fevers AND the fact that you were going for a sports physical, the reason they wanted to make sure it wasn't mono was because, mono can cause the spleen to enlarge, and in sports, the constant jostling of things like getting body checked (or even just running) can cause the spleen to rupture which can be life-threatening.
You were one of the lucky ones who didn't have too much fatigue, but it sounds like you did indeed have mono, and have likely had it within the last 3 months. If you are on your way to recovery that's great, and you should not ever get this again.