Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Fun-a-day 19: Mononuceosis and atypical lymphocytes
Are you still with me? I hope so!
Again, I know that mono isn't fun at all, but again, under the microscope it is quite a distinctive illness. I totally am guessing here, but I believe it was named "mono", because of the abundance of atypical lymphocytes that we see in a blood smear that resemble monocytes. In any viral disease, the lymphocytes are the heroes. They multiply rapidly, fighting off the viral infection. In the process, they appear "reactive" on the slide... the nucleus (purple) gets a bit spread out and lacy, the cytoplasm (light blue) can get quite blue and almost seems to get a bit sticky. It can look like it clings to the red blood cells on the slide. This is a very simple "drawing" of what it looks like. A well-seasoned med tech can spot mono right away. We always noted the atypical lymphs on the differential, and often called the doctor or nurse to alert them to our suspicion (they usually weren't surprised). For some reason, these mono infections just look a bit different than most other viral illnesses. Of course with any viral illness, there's only so much the doctor can do, as antibiotics aren't effective against the virus, but can help if a "secondary" bacterial infection occurs.
Sorry for the bad lighting the last few days. I've been taking them at night, but better late than never, right? Speaking of late, I know it's way too late but I'm linking up with "Freshly Pieced" WIP Wed blog again. We West Coast folks have a bit of a disadvantage time-wise for these linky parties, but maybe there's still a few of us still on the blog-o-spere!