‘Kissing disease’ puts woman in Taichung emergency room


TAIPEI–A young woman in Taichung was sent to a hospital recently after developing severe abdominal pain that was later found to be linked to infectious mononucleosis, also known as “kissing disease.” The woman was sent to the emergency room of Taichung Tzu Chi General Hospital after developing severe stomach pains. Doctors found she had an enlarged liver, and her liver function test was 20 times the normal level, leading to a diagnosis of mononucleosis, said Liao Wei-chih, an infectious disease specialist at Taichung Tzu Chi General Hospital.

The disease, which is also known as “kissing disease” because the infection is spread through saliva, is so common that nearly 90 percent of adults have been infected at some time in their lives and become a carrier, Liao said.

According to a nationwide survey, more than 80 percent of children in Taiwan are exposed to it before reaching puberty, he said.

Liao said many healthy people carry the virus without showing any symptoms, and that symptoms were likely triggered in the patient due to stress and fatigue.

He said there was no need to panic since most people recover from the disease on their own. But he recommended that people see a doctor if one develops a fever for more than a week or has a persistent sore throat.