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Is infectious mononucleosis communicable?

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Answered by

Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 1262 Questions
My 34 year old daughter (#1) is arriving for a visit. Her husband developed mono, he was diagnosed yesterday. She was tested but doesn't have the results yet, though her MD thinks she doesn't have it (#1 had a virus last week). The big problem is that we are having a family party for my other daughter (#2) who is 7 months pregnant. (That daughter (#2) had mono as a teenager). How dangerous to #2 is #1? She knows no kissing, no sharing of anything, washing hands often. Is this even a safe meeting? There will also be kids 16 months to age 12, and a 96 year old person at this party.
Posted Thu, 23 Nov 2017 in Infections
Answered by Dr. Salah Saad Shoman 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Long incubation period

Detailed Answer:
Dear Ma'am,

I have gone through your question and I understand your concerns but unfortunately infectious mononucleosis has a long incubation period that can last up to 6-8 months before producing any symptoms and most patients can spread symptoms during this period.

infection is mostly transmitted through saliva either by direct contact or airborne droplets which is less unlikely .. infection can also spread through sexual contact and blood.

As for your pregnant daughter , reinfection cannot occur as once she got infected once the virus remains dormant in her body and it usually has no dangerous effect on the mother or child .

For the other kids and elderly person present in the party , it is unlikely to get infected without direct contact of saliva but still there is a small risk of infection.

However, infectious mononucleosis is usually a mild disease that can present by :
a fever
a sore throat
swollen lymph glands in your neck and armpits
a headache
muscle weakness
swollen tonsils
night sweats
The symptoms are easily treated and self limited without any complications except in rare cases where spleen or liver enlargement occur..

I hope I answered your question
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Is infectious mononucleosis communicable? 37 minutes later
Thank you, Dr Shoman.

I was most worried about my pregnant daughter, followed by my 96 year old mother who is in excellent health. However,

in your phrase, "airborne droplets which is less unlikely". I think you mean, "less likely" (I'm an English teacher!), so that daughter #1 has to keep her mouth and nose covered, maybe with a mask, if there is one for viruses.
Answered by Dr. Salah Saad Shoman 9 hours later
Brief Answer:
Yes, you're right

Detailed Answer:
Dear Ma'am, Hello again..
Thank you for correcting me,

Yes, I meant less likely... However, your first daughter needs to cover her mouth and nose, avoid sharing any utensils with him and also avoid sexual intercourse to avoid getting infected if her test came back negative...

I hope you find this helpful.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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