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Mono - Can you or can you not get it again?

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When I was diagnosed with mono I was devastated. The ONE thing my doctor said that sounded hopeful was that it was like chickenpox - once you get it you won't get it again.

I have been reading a LOT about it. And I'm seeing people being re-diagnosed with this from bloodwork numerous times throughout years and/or life.

So what's the deal? Can you or can't you get it again?

I see "the doctors are not in." Anybody else have any info on this?
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replied July 15th, 2011
Especially eHealthy
spoookee,

Mononucleosis is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Once you have contracted the infection, your body will produce antibodies to the virus. You only get the infection once. (There are some rare cases where a person may not build complete immunity the first time they are exposed and thus, may get it a second time. But, again, this is really not very common).

Once you have been exposed to EBV, you will have the antibodies to it for the rest of your life. That is what gives you the immunity.

So, if a test is done just to determine if you have antibodies (and you have had mono in the past), you will show positive. That does not mean that you have the disease again.

(Just like, if you have been vaccinated for, say the measles, and you have an antibody test done for measles, you will show positive. You don't have the disease, but you do have the immunity.)

Hope that helps. Good luck.
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replied July 15th, 2011
Wow. It just seems strange that these people are having the same problems show up - same symptoms over and over again.

In my case, I fought this for weeks before I finally went to a doctor. I just didn't have the money. The ER doctor said there is like an epidemic of EBV going around our area now. He had just diagnosed a 5 year old little boy right before me. I wound up with pneumonia on top of the EBV. So it's hard for me to even know if I'm feeling lethargic now from the pneumonia or the EBV.

Do you have any idea how long you are contagious after you contract it? I have seen a LOT of varying information on that topic. Thank you so much. I'm single and I get these responses to my dating profile and it's like - what am I supposed to do? Yeah let's go on a date but I have mono. *shrug*
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replied July 15th, 2011
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spoookee,

Unfortunately, many times, the symptoms of mono are very nonspecific and similar to other illnesses, especially viral ones. And the EBV has been pegged as causing things like chronic fatigue syndrome, which has many of the same symptoms as mono.

So, some patients may be "diagnosed" as having mono repeatedly, when actually, it is something else. There are so many viral illnesses out there, it's actually a little scary (just kidding).

This is from the CDC: “Most individuals exposed to people with infectious mononucleosis have previously been infected with EBV and are not at risk for infectious mononucleosis. In addition, transmission of EBV requires intimate contact with the saliva (found in the mouth) of an infected person. Transmission of this virus through the air or blood does not normally occur. The incubation period, or the time from infection to appearance of symptoms, ranges from 4 to 6 weeks. Persons with infectious mononucleosis may be able to spread the infection to others for a period of weeks or months. However, no special precautions or isolation procedures are recommended, since the virus is also found frequently in the saliva of healthy people. In fact, many healthy people can carry and spread the virus intermittently for life. These people are usually the primary reservoir for person-to-person transmission. For this reason, transmission of the virus is almost impossible to prevent.”

If you would like to read the whole letter from the CDC, Google “Epstein-Barr Virus and Infectious Mononucleosis” and you should be able to access the information. It may be something you would want to read. It gives you just about all the information you would ever need, or want, on mono.


Hope that helps. Good luck.
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replied July 17th, 2011
I appreciate that. I'll definitely have to read up on that.

My doctor said that you CAN get it through casual contact, like a flu, etc. but that it is just more rare. He keeps seeing little kids getting it. So it has to make a person wonder. I don't know how I got it. My symptoms didn't appear for approximately 6 weeks after I was with my last boyfriend. I assumed I didn't get it from him for that reason. However, I now wonder after what you posted.

I just know this illness is horrible. I've had swine flu, which was also horrible, but pales in comparison to this. Since I got pneumonia as well, it's hard to tell if I'm still having mono symptoms or if it's the mono. I know both will leave you feeling horribly fatigued.

I'm single and on dating websites. Go figure I got a message from somebody that sounded really neat a week or so ago. And I feel like I can't date now or even in the foreseeable future for fear of passing it on. Major drag.
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