New York: Deep kissing increases the risk of spreading a viral disease called `mono` or "kissing disease", a new study has found.
Researchers followed 546 college students in the US from freshman to senior year and found the only factor that increased the risk for catching mono was deep kissing.
Symptoms of the "kissing disease" include sore throat, fatigue, headache, fever decreased appetite, and swollen tonsils.
However, some people develop mono without showing symptoms, `MyHealthNewsDaily` reported.
The study by the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis, found the students who reported deep kissing were more likely to develop mono than those who did not kiss.
Other factors, including the student`s diet and amount of exercise and stress, failed to increase the risk, researchers said.
Caused by the Epstein?Barr virus, mononucleosis or mono is spread through contact with an infected person`s saliva. It can also be spread through coughing, sneezing or sharing food, but the disease is not as infectious as a cold virus, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Researchers tested all the students` blood for antibodies against the Epstein?Barr virus. About 63 per cent of the students tested positive for the antibodies, meaning they had mono in the past.
he remainder, 143 students, visited the university clinic every 8 weeks for an average of three years, to test if they had developed the illness.
Doctors diagnosed 66 of the students with mono. Of these, 59 showed symptoms. Previously, it had not been clear how often people in this age group developed symptoms when they got mono.
Students with mono were sick for an average of 17 days, but were capable of spreading the virus for much longer - about 5 months, the report said.
The rate of infection was higher during freshman year (26 cases per 100 people) compared to the other three years (10 cases per 100 people per year.