Who did I kiss?


Mario Ortiz

Student Health Center on Chico State’s campus.

“I think I’m dying!” 

Sweating through the sheets on my mattress, I lay in bed. My body aching, my throat hurting and my head raging, I began to run through all illnesses in my head that could be causing this suffering. 

On Sept. 28, I was diagnosed with infectious mononucleosis, also called “mono” or the “kissing disease.’’

Mono is a contagious disease commonomy caused by Epstein-Barr virus. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention “one out of four teenagers and young adults who get infected with EBV will develop infectious mononucleosis.

The first signs of something being wrong was when the fatigue started settling in. I began to lose energy, however I blamed it on the lack of sleep I got the night before.

Then the real symptoms kicked in. Slowly my throat began to hurt with every swallow. My body felt like it was hit by a school bus, and my head started throbbing with pain.

For the next three days, my symptoms intensified. I locked myself in my room, surviving off of soup, due to the pain when I swallowed — soup was the only thing I could get down. My tonsils were so swollen they were almost touching.

I spent some time searching for the evil person who infected me. According to the CDC, symptoms usually appear four to six weeks after you get infected with EBV, so I was unable to track my perpetrator. 

Finally I listened to my mom, and went to Enloe Medical Center. 

After receiving a steroid, my symptoms began to disappear day-by-day. I missed about 10 days of school, and my doctor didn’t want me to return until I didn’t have a fever for 24 hours. 

The Journal of Diagnostic Techniques and Biomedical Analysis examines, “previously reported literature on the incidence rate in universities and military settings of infectious mononucleosis taking into account these possible confounding factors.” And found that “the second most common cause for college students’ admission into infirmaries.”

A study from Brain, Behavior, and Immunity found “infectious mononucleosis in childhood or adolescence was associated with an increased risk of a subsequent depression.”

Throughout the first 22 years of my life, mono has been the worst disease I’ve experienced. With campus reopened, students need to be aware of mono. 

If you start feeling symptoms like extreme fatigue, fever, sore throat, head and body aches, please visit Chico State’s WellCat Health Center or contact them at 530-898-5241 and [email protected]

Mario Ortiz can be reached at [email protected] or @realnameismario on Twitter.