Is Epstein Barr and Mononucleosis the same

Glandular Pfeiffer fever - signs and course

An initial infection (primary infection) with the Epstein-Barr virus is not always the same. The typical clinical picture of infectious mononucleosis is found mainly in adolescents and young adults. The incubation period, i.e. the time between infection and the appearance of the first signs, is around 10 days for children and 30 to 50 days for adolescents and adults.

The typical clinical picture

In more than half of those affected, Pfeiffer's glandular fever appears with a triad of symptoms: fever, lymph node swelling and inflammation in the throat area (monocyte angina). The illness usually begins with flu-like symptoms such as general malaise, tiredness, pronounced clinical picture with headache and body aches, loss of appetite. After a few days, the body temperature rises to 38 to 39 ° C. Occasionally, photophobia and shortness of breath occur. Those affected suffer most from fatigue during the second and third weeks of the illness. During this phase the fever can fall and rise again and again.

The lymph nodes swell - particularly on the neck (sometimes up to the size of a chicken egg!) And on the neck - but also under the armpits or in the chest or stomach area. A dirty-gray coating often forms on the inflamed tonsils, but it does not spread to the surrounding area. This monocyte angina can cause difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, and bad breath.

The Epstein-Barr virus can also spread to the liver and spleen. The swollen organs attacked as a result can cause nausea and abdominal pain. Other symptoms range from mood swings to depression and disorientation. Sometimes an inflammatory skin rash (exanthema) occurs.

Normally, the infection is over after about three weeks, but it can take weeks to months before the patient has regained full performance. Even if the symptoms have subsided, the person affected remains the carrier of the pathogen for life, so that the disease can recur, for example if the immune system is temporarily weakened. In such cases, the disease is usually weakened or has no symptoms at all.

Chronic course

In very rare cases, the infection turns into a chronic form. Then the symptoms (fever, tiredness, exhaustion, depressive moods, lack of drive, swelling of the lymph nodes) persist for at least six months. In a chronic infection, extremely high levels of antibodies against the pathogen can be found.

In HIV-positive patients or severely immunocompromised patients, very fine, white, hair-like extensions can develop on the edges of the tongue (hairy leukoplakia).