In making the diagnosis, the doctor examines the affected person's eyes, ears, nose, and throat in order to rule out other diseases that may cause fever and sore throat, such as infectious mononucleosis, a sinus infection, or strep throat.
If mononucleosis is suspected, a physician will typically conduct a physical examination, including a "Monospot" antibody blood test that can indicate the presence of proteins or antibodies produced in response to infection with the EBV.
This condition, called lymphoid hyperplasia, may also be associated with a variety of inflammatory and infectious diseases, such as Crohn's disease, gastroenteritis, respiratory infections, mononucleosis, and measles.
While the severity and length of illness varies, most people diagnosed with mononucleosis are able to return to their normal daily routines within two to three weeks, particularly if they rest during this time period.
People with weakened or suppressed immune systems, such as AIDS patients or those who have had organ transplants, are particularly vulnerable to the potentially serious complications of infectious mononucleosis.
As a result, individuals living in a household or college dormitory with someone who has mononucleosis have a very small risk of being infected unless they have direct contact with the person's saliva.
The physician will also exclude other potential causes for the symptoms and rash, including rubella, infectious mononucleosis, bacterial infections such as Lyme disease, allergic reactions, and lupus.
Other herpes viruses such as Epstein-Barr, responsible for mononucleosis as well as the viruses causing the common cold, influenza (the flu) are all potential culprits for causing this condition.
One of the most common problems in treating mononucleosis, particularly in teenagers, is that people return to their usual activities too quickly and then experience a relapse of symptoms.
In some cases, the doctor may order blood tests for mononucleosis, since about one third of patients with mononucleosis develop streptococcal infections of the tonsils.