JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Infectious mononucleosis, often referred to as mono, is a common disease among teens and young adults. It isn’t typically a serious illness, but it can have dangerous complications.
On Wednesday, News4Jax learned a Fernandina Beach High School student died battling a form of the illness. She was 17 years old.
Dr. Mobeen Rathore with Wolfson Children’s Hospital said the Epstein-Barr virus is one of the most common viruses, and it’s what causes mono, which he said almost everyone gets by the time they’re an adult. He said some people don’t even know they have it.
Some of the first signs to look out for are a fever, sort throat, aches, nausea and an overall feeling of discomfort.
“It’s very similar to many of those infections, more like strep throat, then some of the others,” Rathore said.
Other than symptomatic relief, it’s difficult to treat mono. Rathore said mono directly causing death is very rare.
“Unfortunately, if it is going to get to that situation that it is deadly, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it,” he said. “If the parents are worried about the kids, they should get them the flu shot because the child is more likely of getting hospitalized and dying of the flu every day of the week and twice on Sunday than mono.”
Rathore explained that just like any other virus, mono can cause other more dangerous complications. Some of the most common include swollen tonsils, which would cause difficulty breathing, meningitis and encephalitis, which is swelling of the brain.
He said if you think your child is seriously ill and in danger to go to the emergency room.