ZocdocAnswersDo people really get mono from kissing?

Question

Do people really get mono from kissing?

My girlfried had mono a while ago. When is it safe for me?

Answer

Mono is short for mononucleosis. This is the name for the syndrome caused by the Epstein Barr Virus. The virus is passed through the saliva, and thus, kissing is a common way in which people transmit the illness. We really don't know for sure how long someone is contagious after they get infected. We know that once someone has the virus, they may not show symptoms for 1-2 months. After they start to show symptoms, we think that someone can pass the virus on to someone else for about 6 weeks. If your girlfriend had mono more than a couple months ago, then you are probably not at risk of getting it from her. If you are concerned that you may have caught the Epstein Barr Virus, or if you have concerning symptoms, then I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can take a more detailed history of your symptoms and perform a thorough physical exam. Your doctor is likely to ask you when you girlfriend was sick with mononucleosis and if you were exposed at that time. If you have any concerning symptom, then your doctor may send off a blood test looking for the infection.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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