Have you ever caught someone kissing?

Dangerous kisses: saliva transmits glandular fever

09.05.2011

Pfeiffer's glandular fever is a viral disease that is transmitted by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) via the saliva, especially when kissing. That is why it is also called "kissing disease" or "kissing disease". Small children become infected when they "cuddle" with their parents. The younger the children are, the more severe and shorter the disease is. Since the virus can still be excreted months or years after infection, infection usually occurs "unnoticed" ...

A runny nose, cough, sore throat, fatigue and a slight fever: Most people think of such symptoms as a cold or a flu-like infection and do not care. But if after a few days the body temperature rises to more than 38 degrees and the lymph nodes swell painfully, it is quickly clear after a visit to the doctor: This is Pfeiffer's glandular fever - a common, but usually harmless infection with the Epstein Barr virus.

80% of people go through it, but most of them do not show it. Up to the age of 30, a large part of the population became infected with the causer unnoticed, developed antibodies against it and was thus immune for life. At the same time, however, the virus remains in the body for a long time and can be repeatedly excreted through the nasopharynx.

Adolescents are particularly receptive
Since the virus is mainly transmitted via saliva and is most likely to catch people up to the age of 25, the disease is also known as kiss disease or student fever. "The infection is quite large, the virus is present everywhere," explains the in Weimar pediatrician Monika Niehaus from the professional association of paediatricians (BVKJ). Small children can become infected not only through kisses from their parents, but also through droplet or smear infections, for example in kindergarten.

At first glance, Pfeiffer's glandular fever often looks like a purulent angina. “In contrast to this, the almonds are coated in a smeary gray,” explains Niehaus. Therefore, stir a noticeably foul, sweetish halitosis that cannot be removed by brushing your teeth. “The feeling of illness is also stronger than with angina.” In addition, there is the very pronounced, painful swelling of the lymph nodes and often abdominal pain due to a swollen liver and spleen.

Save several weeks
Those who are plagued by the virus have to stay in bed - and if in doubt, take it easy for a longer period of time. There is no specific therapy. Because antibiotics, for example, only work against bacteria, but not against viruses. Only the symptoms, fever, sore throat and swelling of the lymph nodes, can be treated with pain relievers: Niehaus recommends neck wraps and liquid food as simple but effective home remedies to make swallowing easier. “Anything that is cold and smooth, like ice cream or yoghurt, is good,” advises the pediatrician.

For glandular fever patients, there is also an absolute ban on exercise for several weeks. And after that, they should just carefully approach loads again. Niehaus estimates that children are impaired in their performance for up to three months. In adult patients, Wimmer makes the permitted load dependent on the liver values ​​and how the spleen swells. That too can take a while.

Anyone who does not adhere to the prescribed restraint runs the risk that the infection will continue to smolder. The accompanying inflammation of the liver remains, and the person concerned is clearly underperforming. People are more likely to get serious infections such as bronchitis or sinus infections. Inflammation of the meninges, myocardium or kidneys can occur rather rarely.

You cannot protect yourself against glandular fever - there is no vaccination. “In principle you have to go through it,” says Niehaus. Sick people should, however, be avoided in the first phase of the disease, especially any saliva contact with them. After a short time, however, the risk of infection decreases - holding hands is then allowed again.

Source: dpa