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February 18, 2014

Kissing, though nice, may be pathological

This article was originally published on January 6, 1956 and was re-printed on February 18, 2014 as part of the Maroon’s historical issue.

If a recently-proposed medical theory that kissing is responsible for the spread of mononucleosis is correct, scarcity of the disease here would indicate some sort of deficiency in the inter-personal relations of UC students.

Implications of the hypothesis may have far-reaching results, providing unexpected evidence for social scientists investigating contemporary trends in osculation. But the theory itself is still tentative.

A recent publication of the Abbott laboratories contended that infectious mononucleosis, commonly called “glandular fever,” is spread by kissing, evidence being certain epidemiological oddities of the disease which has so far defied scientific explaining.

Why, for example, does the disease become epidemic younger nurses and interns in hospitals but not among veteran nurses and doctors? Why is it prevalent among boys and girls in co-ed colleges but not students?

Only two UC students have been hospitalized with mononucleosis since July, Dr. Henrietta Herbolsheimer, director of Student Health reported, although one college student was admitted New Year’s Day. There are a small number of ambulatory cases.

Mononucleosis is believed to be a virus disease, she stated, and is often mistaken for the common cold. It can cause extreme disability and malaise, giving the victim “that rundown feeling.”

Dr. Herbolsheimer, however, would not assent to the theory herself. She explained that, aside from the inconclusiveness of the evidence, kissing communicates many things besides disease, and she warned against “throwing out the baby with the bath.”

Indications are that, people being what they are, she has little to worry about in this respect.

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