Developed world’s ‘kissing disease’ goes viral in Capital
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The city is literally under the weather of late and hospitals have reported a spurt in viral infections, especially the highly-infectious mononucleosis — also known as the "kissing disease" which is commonly found in the developed world.
Intermittent rains over the past fortnight have triggered a rise in cases of regular viral influenza and viral hepatitis, but doctors were surprised to witness mononucleosis — relatively uncommon in developing countries.
Mononucleosis often spreads through saliva and close contact, such as kissing, and hence the colloquial name.
Several hospitals said they detected cases of mononucleosis, caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, during laboratory tests of patients' blood and mucus samples.
"We have admitted four patients diagnosed with mononucleosis. It is considered that in developing countries, people are exposed to the virus at a young age and, hence, become immune to it. But we have discovered several cases during this season of viral outbreaks," Dr Rommel Tickoo, consultant of internal medicine in Max Hospital in Saket, said.
"It shares common symptoms with other viral diseases... fever, sore throat, loss of appetite, fall in platelets, fatigue and inflammation of the lymph nodes. Like other viral infections, it is self-limiting and symptomatic treatment cures a patient," he said.
Dr Tickoo said at least two patients developed meningitis or brain fever — a complication of routine viral infections.
Doctors in Apollo Hospital said there have been suspected cases, but none of their patients have confirmed mononucleosis. "We have tested blood samples and fluid from lymph nodes of suspected patients. But no case has been confirmed. Since cases of viral diseases rise during the monsoon, it is not uncommon," Dr S Chatterjee of Apollo Hospital said.
In Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, doctors said about five cases of mononucleosis have been confirmed. "Mononucleosis is not entirely linked to rain. But seasonal changes do trigger a spurt in viral diseases," Dr Atul Gogia said.
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