Does heating / microwaving food mitigate mono?
April 21, 2010 8:54 PM   Subscribe

How safe is it to eat cooking from someone getting over mononucleosis?

A friend of mine had active mononucleosis and has been feeling better for about 10 weeks now.

The other day, he made soup, occasionally taste-testing it with a wooden spoon and stirring with it.

It's been a few days and I'd like to have some of the soup he made. Would the heat of cooking and the fact that I'll be microwaving the soup reduce the chance of me contracting mono through the food?

Also, how off-base am I for asking this question? How much saliva really needs to be shared in order for mono to be a serious risk?

(in my defense, I'm not really too scared of getting mono. It'd just like to have some knowledge on mono besides all the Google results saying "Don't share food" and "Don't kiss")
posted by carpyful to Health & Fitness (4 answers total)
IANYD, but -

Your friend should be over the infectious period. He should no longer be contagious unless he develops a chronic infection (some people continue to shed some of the virus for the rest of their lives in their saliva. probably this is part of the reason that the vast majority of people have already had mono and don't realize it because they had no symptoms or very mild symptoms).

In any case, it is called the kissing disease because you generally have to have 'intimate contact' with the saliva to contract it. Not that you couldn't get mono by sharing food or eating implements with someone, but someone who probably doesn't have an active infection, who isn't sharing it (and his saliva) with you at the time? It's very unlikely that you would be exposed to anything this way.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 9:10 PM on April 21, 2010

As a follow-up, from the CDC, I am sure you will like this quote:

"Persons with infectious mononucleosis may be able to spread the infection to others for a period of weeks. However, no special precautions or isolation procedures are recommended, since the virus is also found frequently in the saliva of healthy people. In fact, many healthy people can carry and spread the virus intermittently for life. These people are usually the primary reservoir for person-to-person transmission. For this reason, transmission of the virus is almost impossible to prevent."
posted by treehorn+bunny at 9:12 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

When I got it in college, I was infected by someone who had been feeling better for weeks and was symptom-free, and I got it from drinking out of her Gatorade bottle.

All that to say: I wouldn't have let him double-dip, and I certainly wouldn't have eaten his food after he did.

(Good luck!)
posted by mudpuppie at 12:37 PM on April 22, 2010

Response by poster: Yeah.. I ended up eating it.

I guess I'll update this in 8 weeks to see if I am sick :x
posted by carpyful at 5:53 PM on April 25, 2010

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