Health Dept. reports several cases of mono in the community
By Kyle Vuille
Ranger-Review Staff Writer
More illnesses have struck Dawson County in the past two weeks, including an outbreak of mononucleosis.
Dawson County Health Department issued a statement saying there has been a cluster of mononucleosis or more commonly known as “mono,” in Dawson County.
According to the email, as of Dec. 15, there were 17 confirmed cases of mono in the county with many of the cases being small children under the age of 6.
The mono news comes just days after the DCHD reported that there has been a spike in both cold and flu-like illnesses as well as gastrointestinal illnesses in the county over the past few weeks. There were seven confirmed cases of influenza in the county as of Dec. 9.
Although there were not confirmed cases of mono among Head Start students, a high number of illnesses at the preschool prompted a two-day shutdown of the Action for Eastern Montana/Head Start preschool Monday and Tuesday of last week.
According to Head Start official Clint Wynne, there were numerous reported cases of pink eye and strep throat that forced the closure.
Head Start officials decided to close the school in an attempt to stop the further spreading of germs between students and to take the opportunity to sanitize the facility.
“Monday and Tuesday, they gave everything a good, deep clean and disinfected so nothing was left lingering,” Wynne said.
The DCHD has not been able to track down the origin of the illnesses experienced among Head Start students, however DCHD officials noted the symptoms of mono are also often misattributed to other illnesses like pink eye or strep throat.
Mono is a viral illness and can be spread through saliva via kissing, coughing, sneezing and sharing glasses or utensils. The illness can also be spread in young children bysharing toys that made their ways into the infected child’s mouth. Those infected with mono may not show symptoms for four to six weeks and symptoms may develop at a slow pace.
The symptoms of mono include: fever, fatigue, swollen tonsils, headache, skin rash, sore throat (white spots in the back of the throat), swollen lymph glands in the back of the neck, groin, or armpit, chills, headache, lack of appetite, puffy eyelids, sensitivity to light, enlargement of the liver and spleen and anemia.
There is no exact treatment for mono, but over the counter drugs can alleviate symptoms. Drinking lots of fluids and plenty of sleep are crucial if someone has contracted mono. The email also stated it may take two to three months before those infected with mono will feel back to normal, with symptoms slowly easing away within a few weeks.
The DCHD also said rest is the best method to a speedy recovery while returning to daily activities too hasty can pose a threat of relapse.
DCHD ended with saying the amount of mono cases may be higher than reported because many people who are infected have not seen a doctor for an official diagnosis.
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