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Mononucleosis is an infectious illness that’s sometimes called mono or “the kissing disease.” While you can get the virus that causes it through kissing, you can also get it in other ways like sharing drinks or utensils. It’s contagious, but you’re less likely to catch mono than other illnesses like the common cold.
Mono isn’t usually a serious illness, but it can lead to complications that in some cases make the disease more dangerous. The symptoms of mono can be mild, but they can also become very severe. If that happens, you may not be able to take part in your normal, daily activities for up to several weeks.
In general, the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is what causes mono. It’s a common virus that many people are exposed to as kids. But even if you’re exposed to EBV, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll get mono. It’s possible to be infected with EBV and carry it in your body for your entire life without ever having symptoms of mono.
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