Public Health Fact Sheet

What is Mononucleosis?
Mononucleosis or “Mono” is a viral illness most commonly caused by the Epstein-Barr virus.  It occurs primarily in adolescents and young adults.  Infected individuals experience fatigue, fever, and a general feeling of malaise and lethargy.

How is Mononucleosis spread?
Mono is mildly contagious and is usually spread through bodily fluids, most commonly saliva.

How is Mononucleosis treated?
There is no cure for Mononucleosis.  Treatment consists of symptom management, including staying well hydrated, getting plenty of rest, and taking over-the-counter medications for fever and pain.  If you have infectious Mononucleosis, you should not take penicillin antibiotics like ampicillin or amoxicillin.  Based on the severity of the symptoms, a healthcare provider may recommend treatment of specific organ systems affected by infectious Mononucleosis. Because your spleen may become enlarged as a result of infectious Mononucleosis, you should avoid contact sports until you fully recover.  Participating in contact sports can be strenuous and may cause the spleen to rupture.

 How is Mononucleosis prevented?
There is no vaccine to protect against infectious Mononucleosis.  You can help protect yourself by not kissing or sharing drinks, food, or personal items, like toothbrushes, with people who have infectious Mononucleosis.  Always remember to use general good hygiene measures including hand washing. 

Additional information is available on the CDC website at
Symptoms of Mononucleosis
  • Sore Throat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • General feeling of tiredness
  • Muscle aches
  • Skin rash
  • Spleen enlarged
  • Liver enlarged
  • Swollen glands

February 2020