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Mononucleosis tests are blood tests to look for antibodies that indicate mononucleosis (mono), which is usually caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). The antibodies are made by the immune system to fight an infection.
Mono tests include:
The monospot test is done to help diagnose a recent mono infection.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) antibody testing is also done to help diagnose mono. The EBV antibody test can help determine whether you have ever been infected with the virus and whether the infection has been recent.
EBV antibody testing is usually done when you have symptoms of infectious mononucleosis and a monospot test result is negative. EBV antibody testing may also be done to check for antibodies to EBV when a person has a disease or uses medicine that causes problems with the immune system.
No special preparation is required before having this test.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form .
The monospot test is done on a small sample of blood taken from your fingertip or from a vein. The Epstein-Barr antibody test is done on a blood sample taken from your vein.
For a fingertip sample, the health professional taking the sample will:
The health professional taking a sample of your blood will:
The blood sample is taken from a vein in your arm or from your fingertip. You may feel nothing at all from the needle or lancet, or you may feel a quick sting or pinch. The elastic band that is wrapped around your upper arm when blood is taken from a vein may feel tight.
There is very little chance of a problem from having a blood sample taken from your fingertip or a vein.
The results of a monospot test are usually ready within 1 hour.
The blood sample does not form clumps (no heterophil antibodies are detected).
The blood sample clumps (heterophil antibodies are detected). If the blood sample clumps, you probably have mono.
The results of the antibody test to detect Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) may be reported as positive (antibodies are present) or negative (antibodies are not present). Or the test results may be reported in titres.
The EBV antibody test can also detect the type of antibodies (immunoglobulins) present in the blood. The type of antibody shows whether the infection is recent or old. The antibody IgM is only found during the active phase of mono. The antibody IgG can be found later, when you are starting to get better.
The results of an EBV antibody test are usually ready within 3 days.
The titer is less than 1 to 10 (1:10). A titer of less than 1:10 means that you have never been exposed to EBV.
No IgM against EBV is present. If IgG is present, it may mean that you have been exposed to EBV in the past.
A titer greater than 1 to 10 (1:10) but less than 1:320 usually means that you have been infected with EBV at some time in the past.
A titer of 1:320 or greater means that you have an active EBV infection (mononucleosis).
IgM against EBV is present.
Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
CitationsPagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.Other Works ConsultedChernecky CC, Berger BJ (2013). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 6th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.
Current as of: February 11, 2020
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineAnne C. Poinier MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineW. David Colby IV MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious DiseaseCaroline S. Rhoads MD - Internal Medicine
Current as of: February 11, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & W. David Colby IV MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease & Caroline S. Rhoads MD - Internal Medicine
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