Saturday, October 9, 1999 Published at 17:45 GMT 18:45 UK
Students volunteer for 'kissing disease' study
Students are particularly at risk of glandular fever
A research project to examine the spread of glandular fever - the "kissing disease" - has attracted more than 600 student volunteers.
The Edinburgh University project - funded by a £700,000 grant from the Medical Research Council - aims to find out why the disease is so common among students and who is at most risk.
All first year students at the university were invited to take part, and the project's leader said she was impressed at their enthusiasm to assist the research.
Professor Dorothy Crawford, of the university's department of medical microbiology, said: "We are very encouraged by the first three days, during which more than 600 students have volunteered.
"They are clearly committed to supporting today's research to help the students of tomorrow."
The disease - which causes sore throats, swollen glands, and extreme tiredness - affects about 5% of the student population.
The researchers want to discover how the Epstein-Barr virus - which causes the condition - is transmitted and to determine how a vaccine could be best used.
Students taking part in the study will fill out questionnaires and give blood samples. Those who pick up the virus will then work with the researchers to track down were they got it.
Professor Crawford said she particularly wanted to find out how lifestyle and genetic factors influenced the age of infection, and whether infection resulted in glandular fever.