Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Glandular fever can be transmitted through kissing.

Glandular fever can be transmitted through kissing.
beginning of content

Glandular fever

1-minute read

Glandular fever (also called infectious mononucleosis) is an infectious disease which is common in teenagers and young adults.

Glandular fever is caused by an infection with Epstein-Barr virus.

The virus is transmitted through saliva, and can be passed from person to person through:

  • kissing (which is why it is sometimes known as the "kissing disease")
  • coughing and sneezing, which spread the virus in airborne droplets
  • avoid sharing utensils and drinking containers

It takes 4 to 6 weeks from the time of infection for glandular fever to develop. A person with glandular fever is contagious for months after the infection so it’s important to follow good hygiene so others don't get infected.

Symptoms can come on gradually, and at first there may be just tiredness and lack of energy. A sore throat, swollen glands (particularly in the neck) and a rash may occur. Upper abdominal pain can occur from a swollen liver or spleen. Glandular fever symptoms can last weeks to months, especially fatigue and lack of energy.

More information

There are a number of resources and services available if you need help or more information on glandular fever:

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: April 2019

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Infectious mononucleosis fact sheet | NSW Health

Infectious Mononucleosis fact sheetInfectious mononucleosis mostly affects teenagers and young adults. The disease is spread through saliva and can cause fever, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes.

Read more on NSW Health website

Glandular fever - myDr.com.au

Find out about the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of glandular fever (infectious mononucleosis) - sometimes called the kissing disease.

Read more on myDr website

Glandular Fever

Glandular Fever is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. It can be spread by coughing and sneezing or by sharing eating and drinking utensils. Symptoms of the disease include fever, a sore throat, and swollen lymph glands.

Read more on Queensland Health website

Glandular fever - Better Health Channel

Glandular fever is most common among high school and university students, but young children can also become infected by saliva on toys, shared cups, or the hands of carers.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection (glandular fever) | HealthEngine Blog

Epstein-Barr virus infection causes glandular fever. It is transmitted through saliva and causes fever, sore throat and swollen glands.

Read more on HealthEngine website

Glandular fever: children & teenagers | Raising Children Network

Glandular fever is a viral illness mostly affecting older children and teenagers. Symptoms include sore throat, fatigue and swollen neck glands. See a GP.

Read more on raisingchildren.net.au website

Glandular fever - including symptoms, treatment and prevention :: SA Health

Glandular fever - caused by the Epstein Barr virus (EBV) - spread from person-to-person by saliva and stays for life usually with no further illness

Read more on SA Health website

Cytomegalovirus CMV infection | HealthEngine Blog

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection usually produces no symptoms, but it can be serious in immunocompromised people and cause glandular fever-like symptoms.

Read more on HealthEngine website

IM screening test - Lab Tests Online AU

Why and when to get tested for heterophile antibodies

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

Differential White Cell Count Test | HealthEngine Blog

Everything You Need to Know About Differential White Cell Counts - What They Are, Why You Might Need One, How They're Performed and Test Results, Explained.

Read more on HealthEngine website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo