Infidelity no longer discloses itself as the lipstick stain on a man’s collar, or as stale Axe rubbed off an overnight’s worth of rumpled clothes. It doesn’t even register as a blue-black love bite underneath the layers of concealer. If infidelity had been known as “lying scumbag”, “cheating hoe”, and “two-timing slut” in the past, things have certainly changed. These days, infidelity is known around town as mono.
Gone are the old litmus tests of a cheating lover. Never mind suspicious emails from Baby622 and flirty texts from John Doe. Partners face more pressing issues: swollen tonsils, raw throat, rising temperatures, muscle soreness, fatigue, nausea, and abdominal pain—the signs of infectious mononucleosis.
Mononucleosis, more often known as “the kissing disease”, is a common illness caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. EBV comes from the herpes virus family. Its characteristic symptoms involve fever, fatigue, sore throat, and swollen glands in the neck, armpit, or groin. The term “mononucleosis” refers to an increase in a type of white blood cells (lymphocytes) in the blood streams that occurs as a result of EBV infection. It gets its name, the kissing disease, from how it’s passed on.
The quickest and most common way mono spreads is through the swapping of saliva. It spreads by contact, bodily fluids being the primary method of transmitting the disease. Aside from being intimate, a person can also contract mono by being exposed to droplets of infected saliva or inhaling mucus that is suspended in the air after a person with mono has sneezed or coughed. Another way for a mono-stricken person to pass the disease is by sharing their food or drink from the same container or utensils with a healthy person.
People who are infected with mono can have the virus without knowing it. It may take a while for the symptoms to appear—even four to seven weeks. Those carrying the virus may be infected and not even show symptoms at all.
However, after one becomes inflicted with mono, symptoms may last two to four weeks, and some people continue to feel fatigued for several weeks after the symptoms have passed.
So here are your options if your partner has mono: either they managed to inhale somebody else’s sneezing droplets of mucus, stood in the line of fire during an incontrollable cough, shared a soda with their infected friends, or the worst: locked lips with another girl or guy.
Either way, the lesson is: beware.
Lovers, if your significant other suddenly finds themselves missing Valentine’s Day, restricted to the bed under pretence of the flu, look closer. Bust out those flashlights and look down their throats for signs of tonsillitis, massage their necks for swollen lymph nodes, and most importantly, scan your surroundings for familiar faces with mono symptoms. They may be a potential home-wrecker.
Your partner may be tight-lipped about a secret affair, but rest assured: this little bug is the type who will kiss and tell.