Epidemiology

EBV is a member of the herpesvirus family and is one of the most common human viruses. It occurs worldwide and is estimated to have infected as many as 95% of adults in the United States. After birth, infants become susceptible when maternal EBV antibody protection disappears. In children, EBV infection is usually mild and indistinguishable from other mild childhood illnesses. EBV infection causes infectious mononucleosis in 35% to 50% of infected adolescents. Mononucleosis is not easily spread and is found in saliva and mucus passed from person to person through intimate contact, the reason for the lay terminology, "kissing disease." Clinical symptoms of infectious mononucleosis generally develop four to seven weeks after exposure. The condition occurs most commonly in persons between the ages of 15 years and 35 years and rarely recurs (2).

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