Can mononucleosis come back? I thought that once you get mono you can't get it again.
Most people who have mononucleosis, also called mono, will have it only once. The disease often goes away in 2 to 4 weeks after causing symptoms such as fever and fatigue.
Mono is caused by a viral infection. Most cases of mononucleosis are caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Once you catch the virus, you carry it for the rest of your life.
Some studies suggest that it's possible to get mononucleosis again after you recover from mono linked toEBV. More research is needed to understand the extent, if any, that this happens in otherwise healthy adults. But overall, it's highly unlikely to happen. Most people will never have another bout of mono caused byEBV.
After you recover from mononucleosis caused byEBV, it's possible to get mono again from a different source. It doesn't come back, but instead is a new infection. Some causes of mono other thanEBVare:
- Hepatitis A, B or C.
Talk to your health care provider if you've had mononucleosis before and you think you have symptoms of it again. Mono symptoms can include:
- Extreme tiredness.
- Head and body aches.
- Sore throat.
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck and underarms.
Other illnesses can cause these symptoms as well. See your health care provider to get diagnosed.
If you do have mono, your provider may suggest you avoid sports. This is because the spleen can swell during a mono infection. And a swollen spleen can be damaged by pressure on the stomach during sports.
This could happen during a contact sport. It could happen in a sport where the stomach presses on something, such as an uneven bar in gymnastics. It also could happen when stomach muscles are used, as in weightlifting.
Pritish K. Tosh, M.D.
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Feb. 11, 2023
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Some studies suggest that it's possible to get mononucleosis again after you recover from mono linked to EBV . More research is needed to understand the extent, if any, that this happens in otherwise healthy adults. But overall, it's highly unlikely to happen.How many times can mono reactivate? ›
Most people who have infectious mononucleosis (mono) will have it only once. Rarely, however, mononucleosis symptoms may recur months or even years later. Most cases of mononucleosis are caused by infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).What causes mono to flare back up? ›
Typically your immune system can keep it inactive, but there are rare cases where it does reactivate. What causes mono flare-ups? Several factors are potential risks for having a mono flare-up. Stress, illnesses that suppress your immune system, and some cancers allow the virus to reactivate.Can mono linger and reinfect you? ›
Once a person has had mononucleosis, the virus remains dormant in the throat and blood cells for the rest of that person's life. Once a person has been exposed to the Epstein-Barr virus, a person is usually not at risk for developing mononucleosis again.Does mono ever flare up? ›
In rare cases, the symptoms can flare up months or even years later. EBV, which usually is what causes a mono infection, remains in your body for the rest of your life. It's usually in a dormant state, but the virus can be reactivated.
Can mono come back with stress? Chronic stress can weaken your immune system, so it's possible that this could be one trigger leading to a bout of recurrent mono.Do you always test positive for mono after having it? ›
A small number of people with mononucleosis may never have a positive test. The highest number of antibodies occurs 2 to 5 weeks after mono begins. They may be present for up to 1 year. In rare cases, the test is positive even though you do not have mono.How do you get rid of reactivated mono? ›
Antiviral therapy such as ganciclovir and vidarabine. Immunosuppressive agents such as cyclosporine and corticosteroids. Immunomodulatory therapy such as interferon alpha and interferon-gamma. Cytotoxic chemotherapy such as anthracyclines, etoposide, cyclophosphamide, vincristine, and prednisone.Can you get mono twice in a few months? ›
In most cases, you cannot be infected with mono twice. Once you've been infected with the virus, it will live in your body in an inactive state. Most people will not experience a re-infection and therefore not undergo mono symptoms twice. However, in rare cases, mono symptoms may recur months or even years later.What are the symptoms of reactivated mono? ›
- Swollen tonsils.
- Extreme fatigue.
- Sore throat.
- Enlarged spleen (splenomegaly)
- Swollen liver.
- Swollen lymph nodes.
For EBV we have a six-stage model of infection (naive Blast, GC, memory, Immediate early lytic, Early lytic and Late lytic) where each stage may or may not be regulated by the immune response.How do you know if Epstein Barr is active? ›
Blood tests for Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) antibodies are used to help diagnose EBV infection, the most common cause of infectious mononucleosis (mono), if a person is symptomatic but has a negative mono test.Does mono weaken your immune system forever? ›
Mono itself doesn't weaken the immune system. In even rarer cases, mono can lead to something called chronic active EBV (CAEBV) disease. This is a serious condition in which mono symptoms last longer than six months. If you experience this or any of the symptoms we've listed below, seek medical attention.What foods are not good for Epstein-Barr virus? ›
Avoiding sugar is also important for managing EBV symptoms, as sugar can increase inflammatory responses, impacting the immune system. Drinking water is also crucial in managing symptoms related to EBV.What kills Epstein-Barr virus? ›
Is there a cure for Epstein-Barr virus? There is no cure for Epstein-Barr virus and there is no vaccine to prevent the spread of the virus. Treatment addresses the symptoms of the virus and symptoms should go away after two to four weeks.How long does mono reactivation last? ›
Symptoms last around two to four weeks and may include: Swollen tonsils. Extreme fatigue. Rash.How do you treat a mono flare up? ›
There's no specific therapy available to treat infectious mononucleosis. Antibiotics don't work against viral infections such as mono. Treatment mainly involves taking care of yourself, such as getting enough rest, eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of fluids.Does mono come in waves? ›
Mono usually comes in three stages for most people. The timeline can vary between individuals. The first stage (prodrome) can last up to two weeks. The second stage of mono (acute phase) can last up to six weeks.