Epidemiology of Mononucleosis
Grand Canyon University: 427V
March 14, 2015
Epidemiology of Mononucleosis
Infectious mononucleosis is a common clinical syndrome associated with Epstein-Barr virus (Singer-Leshinsky, 2012). Individuals infected with the Epstein-Barr virus can be asymptomatic or develop one of several infections which include infectious mononucleosis. A person with mononucleosis can be asymptomatic or symptomatic. Infectious mononucleosis is an acute and self limiting virus which is usually has no lasting side effects (Morris and Edmunds, 2002). However in some uncommon cases, infectious mononucleosis has caused neurologic and malignant complications ...view middle of the document...
Over the counter pain and fever relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be used to control symptoms but they will not cure the virus. Within a few weeks most of the symptoms will subside, however it is important to get appropriate rest for two to three months. Patients that try to return to normal activity too soon can suffer a relapse of the virus.
One of the most common complications of infectious mononucleosis is an enlarged spleen. Sports and other physical activities are not advised with this virus because of the enlarged spleen symptoms. Engaging in strenuous physical sports with an enlarged spleen can cause the spleen to rupture. Spleen rupture occurs in approximately 0.5% of people with mononucleosis and usually occurs in male patients that have resumed normal activities too quickly (Ilardi, 2009).
The following complications of infectious mononucleosis are usually mild and resolve without treatment: thrombocytopenia, hepatitis and autoimmune hemolytic anemia. Other complications that can occur are airway obstruction, which usually occurs in young children and is treated with corticosteroids. Several neurologic complications can also occur but occur rarely such as: seizures, Guillain-Barre syndrome, Bell’s palsy, transverse myelitis, encephalitis, meningitis and cranial nerve palsies. Other rare complications can involve the heart, lungs or kidneys (Ilardi, 2009). “An interesting psychiatric condition that may occur with patients with infectious mononucleosis is known as the “Alice in Wonderland” syndrome, in which patients have a visual distortion of size, shape and special relations of objects (Marshall and Foxworth, 2012).”
Although infectious mononucleosis is more prevalent in adolescents and young adults, it can affect a person at any age. The reason for the prevalence in the younger population is simply that 95% of the older generations have had prior exposure to the Epstein Barr virus that causes infectious mononucleosis. Once exposed to the Epstein-Barr virus, a person acquires lifetime latent infection. Infectious mononucleosis occurs equally in genders, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. (Singer-Leshinsky, 2012).
Determinants of Health
In third world and underdeveloped countries, most young infants are exposed to the Epstein-Barr virus by close contact with family and the virus is almost always asymptomatic. However, in economically stable, developed countries primary infection of the Epstein-Barr virus is delayed because of better hygiene. Researchers are still trying to understand why this later infection has a much higher incidence of developing into infectious mononucleosis (Rickinson and Fox, 2013).
In developed countries, such as those in North America, infectious mononucleosis is seen mostly in adolescents and young adults. These populations spread the virus quickly because of their close contact with their peers. The infectious mononucleosis virus is spread through contact with...