One of the complications of infectious mononucleosis is hepatitis. However, this mono complication does not always result from mononucleosis.
While hepatitis linked to mono is generally mild, it can pose health risks and in some cases can be quite serious. But what exactly is hepatitis and how is this disease related to mononucleosis?
What is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis is a condition involving inflammation of the liver. There are three main types of hepatitis, each of which are caused by viral infection:
There are certain symptoms associated with hepatitis. In addition to liver inflammation, hepatitis symptoms include:
Mono and Hepatitis
Hepatitis occurs in up to 90% of patients with infectious mononucleosis. Mono causes inflammation of the liver in approximately 1 out of every 10 people. Mono-related hepatitis is caused by the Epstein-Barr Virus which also causes mono.
However, mono-related hepatitis is generally mild and only in rare cases does serious liver damage occur. When hepatitis is severe in individuals with mono, diagnosis should investigate a cause beyond mononucleosis. In rare instances where chronic hepatitis occurs because of infectious mononucleosis, it cannot be spread to an individual's spouse or offspring.
Diagnosis of Hepatitis
The diagnosis of hepatitis can be performed through a physical exam, which can check for such hepatitis symptoms as jaundice, an enlarged or tender liver or fluid in the abdomen (ascites).
In addition, laboratory tests may also be performed, including liver function tests. These tests include a variety of blood and urine tests, which evaluate damage incurred to the liver, as well as a liver biopsy, which also evaluates the severity of damage to the liver caused by hepatitis.
There is currently no cure for hepatitis, but there are a variety of treatment options available for hepatitis:
Vaccines are currently available for the prevention of hepatitis A and B. There is currently no vaccine for hepatitis C; however, individuals with hepatitis C are more vulnerable to acquiring hepatitis A and B, meaning that a physician will likely recommend vaccination for these two forms of hepatitis.
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