What are the Signs of Glandular Fever?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 27 September 2019
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Glandular fever, also referred to as infectious mononucleosis, is a type of viral infection. While there is no cure for this type of infection, it tends to disappear on its own after several months. Glandular fever is highly contagious and is transmitted through saliva. Signs of glandular fever may include fatigue, sore throat, and elevated body temperature. Treatment is aimed at managing symptoms and includes getting plenty of rest, taking antibiotics if needed, and taking pain medication as needed.

Occasionally, a patient with glandular fever will not exhibit any signs of glandular fever. These patients are still contagious and may infect others without knowing. Patients who are infected but do not show any signs or symptoms are commonly referred to as carriers.

The initial signs of glandular fever tend to be very similar to those of the flu. The patient may experience body aches and pains, nausea, and elevated body temperature. A general feeling of weakness and fatigue is usually present as well.

In some patients, one of the signs of glandular fever may be a widespread rash all over the body. This type of rash typically involves several areas of the body and may develop suddenly or over a period of time. Unlike other types of rashes, the rash present in patients with glandular fever does not usually itch.


A sore throat is common in patients with glandular fever. In some cases, the soreness may be mild. In most cases, however, the sore throat mimics tonsillitis. If the throat becomes extremely painful, red, and swollen, the doctor may suspect that the sore throat is a sign of glandular fever.

Left abdominal pain may be among the signs of glandular fever in some patients. The spleen is an organ located underneath the ribcage on the left side of the body. This organ may become swollen or inflamed during a bout with glandular fever, leading to abdominal pain. It is important to have this symptom checked by a physician because a ruptured spleen could be a potentially life-threatening medical emergency.

Liver problems may develop in some patients, leading to possible signs of glandular fever such as a yellowing of the skin. This symptom is referred to as jaundice and should be reported to a physician in order to rule out more serious medical conditions. Infections involving the liver are common in those with this condition as well. Any new or troublesome symptoms should be reported to a doctor right away.


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