USD mono outbreak fosters education here

Kara Christensen

Kara Christensen

An unusually high number of mono cases at USD has prompted education from SDSU health officials.

While SDSU Student Health has seen nine cases of mononucleosis this fall, the Sioux Valley Vermillion Medical Clinic has seen 160. Last year, three cases were reported at SDSU.

“We have had an increase, but obviously, it’s nothing as significant as USD,” Carla Dieter, EdE, a family nurse practitioner at Student Health and Counseling Services, said.

SDSU health officials have posted facts about mono in the residence halls. Dieter said any student who suspects he or she has mono should visit Student Health immediately. Office visits are free for students, and bloodwork, if needed, costs an average of $25. Mono symptoms include a sore throat, fever, enlarged lymph nodes, headache and fatigue.

Because the disease is spread by saliva, it is often called the “kissing disease,” Dieter said. Other ways to spread the disease are sharing water bottles or silverware. It makes good sense not to share drinking or eating utensils anyway, Dieter said.

“It’s just being very careful about your personal hygiene,” she said of mono prevention. That includes washing your hands, using tissues, and taking care of your body with adequate rest, diet and liquids.

College students are more susceptible, particularly because of their stressful lifestyles, which may include school, extra-curricular activities, and a job, she said. Members of groups, such as choir, band or athletic teams, may be more at risk because they end up sharing things they might not share otherwise.

Anyone with mono should avoid contact sports, heavy lifting, and other strenuous activity, she said. No specific treatment for mono exists, but patients need plenty of rest and fluids. On average, patients feel less than par for three or four weeks, she said.

Isolation is unnecessary, though patients should practice careful hygiene, she said.

To learn more about mono, visit or call 688-5588.