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Glandular fever is most commonly caused by infection of young adults with Epstein-Barr virus.
The usual time between infection and manifestation of symptoms is between one to two months. This is called the incubation period.
Symptoms of glandular fever include (1-7):
Throat is painful and swollen making eating and drinking difficult. The throat may appear red and raw and may ooze secretions and mucus. There may be small purple spots on the roof of the mouth or palate.
The neck glands enlarge rapidly and may form a visible and palpable mass or tumor within 24 hours. The mass is normally painless or only slightly tender. The most characteristic gland is found at the side of the neck below the angle of the jaw.
The rash in glandular fever is non-itchy and disappears quickly.
The glandular fever symptoms usually resolve by themselves within two to three weeks of the initial infection.
Initial three to five days will be the worst followed by improvement in a gradual course.
The fever usually lasts for 10 to 14 days and declines in severity after the initial three to five days.
Fatigue however may persist for up to three to six months.
Normal activity may be resumed within one to two months of the infection.
In young children the onset of the glandular fever is usually short term. There is a short period of malaise followed by hallmark swollen glands, fever and sore throat.