Chronic mononucleosis syndrome

South Med J. 1984 Nov;77(11):1376-82. doi: 10.1097/00007611-198411000-00007.


We present data on 14 patients with chronic symptoms of disabling fatigue in association with serologic evidence of active Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection. Two thirds were women, and the average age at onset was 29.6 years. Forty-three percent were known to have had previous infectious mononucleosis, but the usual criteria for that diagnosis were not helpful with the present syndrome. Eighty-six percent had serologic evidence of cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection. Profound immunodeficiency was not present, but 71% had partial hypogammaglobulinemia, and minor abnormalities of T cell subsets were noted in six of seven patients studied. Fifty-seven percent achieved temporary serologic and symptomatic remission after an average duration of 33 months. Only one patient has a sustained remission. Comparison is made with other reported chronic, recurrent, and persistent EBV syndromes, and tentative diagnostic criteria for chronic mononucleosis syndrome are presented. Recently available EBV serologic techniques allow for identification of patients who have reactivated EBV infection, and this reactivation may be related to symptoms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cytomegalovirus / immunology
  • Female
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins / analysis
  • Infectious Mononucleosis* / diagnosis
  • Infectious Mononucleosis* / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Syndrome
  • T-Lymphocytes / classification


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Immunoglobulins