Immune System and Defense Mechanisms Essay

Submitted By smithwickk
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Mononucleosis is an infectious disease of humans in which the blood and tissues contain mononuclear leukocytes (white blood cells with only one nucleus), either monocytes or lymphocytes. An infectious disease is a disease that can give you an infection, can be transmitted by infection without actual contact, or can be caused by a microorganism. All species of animals are afflicted with infections caused by a wide variety of organisms, from submicroscopic viruses to wormlike parasites. When a person has an infectious disease like mono the organism gains access to the patient’s body, survives, and then multiples. Next, the patient gets the symptoms. Then the patient may die or recover spontaneously, or the infection may respond to specific therapy. Often there is immunity. Infectious diseases have strongly influenced the course of history on Earth. The organisms responsible for human infections are viruses. Viruses are simple life forms consisting of nucleic acid, encoding genetic information, and surface components of protein that enable them to enter cells. Viruses are unable to multiple outside of cells. Mono is found in the DNA in the body. Another name for mononucleosis is glandular fever because of the fever and swelling of the lymph nodes throughout the body. What causes mononucleosis is the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which is like herpes. The herpes virus also causes some cases of mono and other diseases. Mono usually occurs in adults ten to thirty-five years old, but is known to appear at any age.
The purpose of this study is to present a comprehensive review of the available research on mononucleosis.

Mononucleosis Mononucleosis is a viral disease that affects those usually between the age of ten and thirty-five, although a person at any age can get the disease. This disease found in mainly adolescents and adults seems to only occur in those who escaped the Epstein-Barr virus infection in childhood. It is also known as Glandular Fever, because it affects the lymph nodes in the neck, arm pits and groin. It can last anywhere from one to two weeks to six to eight weeks, some people suffer from mononucleosis for months at a time, but as an individual it depends on your personal recuperation time. Recuperation is a very slow process, which demands a lot of sleep and rest. Being sick for a length of time such as two weeks drains you of strength and energy and as well you lose a lot of your muscles. Balance can also become lost with such an illness, which requires time to develop (Mahmud, 2011). To understand how this virus affects the body, we must first have a brief overview of the body and its immune system.
Immune System The body’s defense mechanisms can be split into two groups; non-specific and specific defense mechanisms. Non-specific mechanisms basically are the barriers that keep pathogens from penetrating the body. For example the epithelial membranes that cover the body, the strong acidity of the stomach killing pathogens before they have the opportunity to infect the system; these are just a couple, there are many others. Specific mechanisms help the individual acquire the ability to defend against specific pathogens by prior exposure to these pathogens. This is a function of the lymphocytes, which will be discussed later on in depth (Saccomano, 2013). Mononucleosis affects the epithelium of the mouth where it is first introduced to the body, but that is the extent to which it is involved in the nonspecific defense mechanisms. The place where it does the most damage is the B-lymphocyte, which is a key component of specific immunity. To understand better what the infection does to the body we must look at the role of lymphocytes in the body briefly and how they do their work (Saccomano, 2013). B-lymphocytes are the ones that are affected directly upon when the body is subjected to this type of infection. Their role in the body is vital for immunity. They are grouped into