Causes of the Kissing Disease

By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 20, 2017
Causes of the Kissing Disease

Infectious mononucleosis, commonly known as the kissing disease, is an infectious ailment usually caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. The route of transmission is through saliva and this is spread through kissing an infected person or drinking from the same bottle or the same glass as them, eating from the same plate, biting the same food, etc., The most common symptoms are fever and inflammation of the lymph nodes, otherwise it is similar to a cold or flu. In this article from you will learn what the causes of the kissing disease are, formally known as infectious mononucleosis, and how you can improve the symptoms.

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Symptoms of the kissing disease

50% of infected people do not present symptoms, so the infection goes unnoticed. However, when the symptoms of the kissing disease manifest, they include some that are flu-like and others that are more specific to this viral infection. The latter is much more common among young people, especially in teenagers between 15 and 17 years of age:

  • Swelling of the lymph nodes: Although the swelling of the lymph nodes is common in almost all virus infections, here it is very common. Some people are frightened by this but remember that the swelling of the lymph nodes is a response of your immune system to some kind of aggression, in this case the viral infection.
  • Similar to the flu: in other cases, the symptoms are similar to those of a flu, and include a cough, sore throat or nausea.
  • Non-specific symptoms: Sometimes those affected may experience non-specific symptoms that make it difficult to diagnosis such as fatigue, nausea, and loss of appetite.
  • Fever: when the virus causes symptoms fever is usually one of them. It is generally not a high fever, although it can rise promptly.
  • Swollen spleen: another common symptom is the inflammation of the spleen which often occurs towards the end of the process and in 50% of cases.
  • Monocytic angina: the majority of patients develop an inflammation of the tonsils as a result of the infection.
  • Enlargement of the liver: in sporadic cases some patients may experience an increase in the size of the liver that causes pain in the area and, occasionally, yellowing of the skin (jaundice).

Furthermore, it is worth noting that the incubation period can last up to 50 days, usually being shorter in the case of children or adolescents.

Causes of the Kissing Disease - Symptoms of the kissing disease

Causes of kissing disease

The cause of kissing disease or infectious mononucleosis are certain types of virus. Typically it is a single virus that triggers it, though there are others that can cause it.

Epstein Barr virus

It belongs to the herpes virus family. The name comes from the people who discovered it: MA Eipstein and YM Barr. The discovery was made back in 1964.


This is another type of virus that can cause mononucleosis or kissing disease, although much less frequent than the previous. It can remain in the body through life, like Epstein Barr virus, and may be asymptomatic.

Route of infection

Saliva is the most common route of infection, spreading through the fluids generated by carriers of the virus. The carrier may not know he or she has it because it often has no symptoms. Other routes of infection that are less frequent are sexual intercourse, blood transfusions or sharing used syringes.

Causes of the Kissing Disease - Causes of kissing disease

Treatment of the kissing disease

The treatment of the kissing disease will be directed towards the relief of symptoms. As these are symptoms which are usually of low gravity, they can be easily handled. It is worth remembering that we should never self-medicate and we must always go to the doctor when faced with any discomfort as this is the only way to determine a diagnosis and treatment.

Usually, the most common method to reduce the fever is to use antipyretics and recommend rest and quiet. One of the most common symptoms and that which worries patients most is the inflammation of the lymph nodes, which can sometimes reach the size of an egg. It is a normal reaction that indicates an infection in our body. Antipyretics and rest will help reduce inflammation and the discomfort that this causes.

There are some more serious symptoms that occur infrequently and may require specific treatment, such as thickening of the liver or spleen.

50% of those infected with the virus that cause the disease do not show any symptoms at all, in which case it is not necessary to medicate.

Causes of the Kissing Disease - Treatment of the kissing disease

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Causes of the Kissing Disease, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.

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