Teen Dies After Contracting Mono — How Deadly Is the Disease?

The teen was sick for weeks before her condition grew worse.
Ariana Rae Delfs (GoFundMe)

A Florida teenager has died after contracting mononucleosis, the girl's family said.

Ariana Rae Delfs, 17, started feeling sick three weeks ago, but doctors were unable to figure out what was wrong with her until she started getting worse, her family told CBS47

“One evening, not too long ago, she started throwing up just constantly," her father, Mark Delfs, told the station. "We got very nervous, so the next morning at 7 a.m. we said we’re going to take her to the hospital."

Ariana Rae then suffered a stroke and she was airlifted to Jacksonville hospital. Her dad added that she was slurring her speech and couldn’t feel her legs. 

Eventually, doctors discovered she had mononucleosis, but the damage she had previously suffered was irreversible.

“Her brain swelled to the point where it couldn’t function and brain damage did occur," Delfs told the station. “And we just made the decision that it was time to let her go.”

What is mononucleosis?

It’s an infectious disease often caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. It is highly contagious and spreads through bodily fluids, especially saliva. 

The illness is common among people aged 10 to 35, and only 50 out of every 100,000 people in the general population will contract mono in their lifetime, according to onhealth.com.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can include high fever, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, muscle weakness headache and rash, among others. 

Symptoms of the illness usually resolve on their own and there isn’t much treatment for the disease, outside of getting rest and drinking plenty of fluid, according to WebMD. It is often mistaken for a cold or the flu. 

Is it deadly?

Mono usually isn’t fatal, but complications from the illness can be life-threatening

Complications can include an enlarged spleen or an inflamed liver. In very rare cases, it can cause anemia, inflammation of the heart, meningitis or a decrease of platelets in your blood, which help with clotting. 

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