Kissing is healthy - that's even proven scientifically. But it can also be transmitted diseases. The infection with the Pfeiffer glandular fever owes this fact also their popular name: kissing disease (Kissing Disease). Many people become infected with it in the course of their life, they usually do not even notice it or treat it as a sore throat. Only very rarely does it come to a difficult course with complications.
Pfeiffer's glandular fever: What is it?
Also known as infectious mononucleosis, Pfeiffer glandular fever is an infection transmitted by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Most people come in contact with the pathogen during their lifetime. Since the viruses are widespread, the first contact with them usually takes place in childhood and adolescence; By the age of 30, 95% of the population in Germany have already gone through the disease.
During the infection, the human forms antibodies that equip him with a lifelong immunity to the virus, ie protect him from re-infection. The disease usually lasts two to three weeks and almost always heals without complication.
Pfeiffer's glandular fever: infection
The pathogen is transmitted through salivary contact, which has given the disease its colloquial name. But droplets scattered by coughing or sneezing also allow the virus to find other victims by indirect means. After the infection, it takes between 10 and 40 days until the first signs of disease occur. The virus mainly affects the mucous membranes of the nose, mouth and throat and a subset of white blood cells, the B lymphocytes.
What symptoms does Pfeiffer's glandular fever show?
Typical are symptoms such as swelling of the lymph nodes on the neck and neck, sometimes on other body parts, almost always coupled with moderate fever to about 39 ° C ("glandular fever"). In most cases, a sore throat occurs, in which a thick, white coating forms on the swollen tonsils and is accompanied by dysphagia.
The first symptoms are usually tiredness, difficulty concentrating and loss of appetite, which not infrequently affect the general condition even in adults even weeks after the acute infection. Muscle pain and headache also appear as signs of glandular fever. Sometimes a fine blotch rash appears for a short time. In small children, there are often no symptoms at all.
Pfeiffer's glandular fever: complications
Rarely, the infection takes a more severe course and affects not only the lymph nodes in the neck region, but also the liver and spleen. This leads to nausea and upper abdominal discomfort and impairment of liver function to jaundice. The spleen swells, which can lead to a (life-threatening!) Splenic rupture. Very rarely, the infection also spreads to the brain, causing inflammation (encephalitis). Other organs, such as the lungs, heart or kidneys, may also be affected by inflammation and lead to anemia or a lack of platelets.
The disease may be particularly severe in patients with weakened immune systems. Affected are z. B. AIDS patients or people after an organ transplant. In addition, the Epstein-Barr virus, especially in those affected after some time to cancer of the lymph nodes or the nasopharynx lead.