Background: Epstein-Barr virus infectious mononucleosis among adults is notorious because of the prolonged incapacitating fatigue it causes.
Aims: To investigate the duration of sickness absence and return to work following infectious mononucleosis.
Methods: Episodes of sickness absence due to infectious mononucleosis were selected from an occupational health services register. The duration of sickness absence and return to work was assessed with Kaplan-Meier survival analysis.
Results: Two thousand one hundred and thirty-seven episodes of absence due to infectious mononucleosis had a median duration of 91 days. Young employees (aged 15-24 years) had the highest return to work rates. Women had longer sickness absence than men. Employees working in small companies were absent longer than employees in large companies.
Conclusions: Occupational physicians should advise gradual return to work, starting 4 weeks after the onset of the illness, in order to prevent physical deconditioning and prolonged illness.