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Category: General Health
Once quaintly referred to as "the kissing disease" because it can be spread by saliva, infectious mononucleosis is a common viral infection that results in a few weeks or months of excessive fatigue before fading away.
New research in the journal Pediatrics puts the infection in a slightly more sinister light, however, as scientists have found evidence that teens who contract the disease may be at greater risk of developing chronic fatigue syndrome later in life.
Researchers from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago found that teens who had mononucleosis ended up with chronic fatigue at about 20 times the rate than found in the general teenage population. The ones most susceptible to chronic fatigue were female, the researchers noted.
Mononucleosis can become active again later in life, although it is usually asymptomatic in these cases. When the virus is active, it is possible to infect others. Mononucleosis testing can detect the presence of the Epstein-Barr virus which causes the infection.
The researchers are investigating further to determine what distinguishes the teens who come down with chronic fatigue from those who shake off the virus's effects.
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