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Weakness, surliness, fatigue, lack of motivation, lumps in your neck, sore throat and poor appetite -- you could easily have mononucleosis! Alternatively, you could be a teenager, for whom these symptoms are normal.

Nevertheless, thousands of young adults worried about "the kissing disease" rush every year to emergency rooms where doctors obligingly order the diagnostic blood test -- a monospot, the mainstay of diagnosis for almost a century, based on the high-tech principle of mixing serum with horse blood and looking for clumping of the cells. A positive test is about 98% reliable, although a negative tests could still mean you have mononucleosis -- or are still a teenager.

A typical story is the 19-year old who has suffered for a week with painful pus-covered tonsils, tender neck nodes and failed to improve with antibiotics. It is a peculiar fact that mononucleosis patients also often develop a rash with Amoxacillin -- thus barring them for life from the benefits of penicillin-based antibiotics.

Mononucleosis is transmitted by the Epstein-Barr virus, easily passed between roommates who use the same drinking cup, lip gloss or share joints or drinks from beer bottle or engage in intimate behavior without their parents' permission. There is no cure, but most mononucleosis patients make a full recovery -- although it often takes a couple of months. The teenager problem tends to resolve too, although more slowly. Check the date on your diver's licence for details. Since the spleen can become painfully enlarged during mononucleosis, victims should avoid contact sports to avoid the rare but potentially lethal complication of spenic rupture.

Not a teenager? If you are over 35 years old and didn't grow up in a cave, you've probably already had mononucleosis. 95% of older adults are seropositive for Epstein-Barr virus. Try clicking "Try Again" to look for something else.

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