Section II. UPPER RESPIRATORY DISEASES WITH SYSTEMIC EFFECTS
a. Definition/Characteristics. Characterized by the presence of more than the
normal number of mononuclear leukocytes in the blood, mononucleosis gets its name
from these mononuclear (single nucleus) cells. Although this disease occurs mostly in
young adults, children and older people do sometimes contract mononucleosis. One of
the herpes viruses, the Epstein-Barr virus, is the cause. The disease can be spread by
direct contact between people--kissing, for example. A simple blood test can determine
whether a person has mononucleosis. Some sheep's blood is mixed with a sample of
clear liquid of the patient's blood. If the patient has mononucleosis, the sheep's blood
cells will stick to one another.
b. Signs/Symptoms. The following signs and symptoms may be present:
Hepatic (liver) dysfunction.
Lymphadenopathy (may cause lymph node enlargement).
Hepatosplenomelegaly (enlargement of the liver and spleen).
Marked asthenia (weakness).
c. Treatment. There is no specific treatment for mononucleosis. Generally,
rest and nourishment are prescribed. Specific symptoms are treated; for example,
saline gargles for sore throat and analgesics for pain. Secondary infections are treated
with appropriate antibiotics. Strenuous activities should be avoided.
d. Precautions. The symptoms of hepatitis and respiratory occlusion are
treated. If the spleen ruptures, emergency removal of the spleen may be necessary.