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Epstein-Barr Virus Serology

Alias: EBV

Discipline: Clinical Microbiology

Test information: Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is the aetiological agent of infectious mononucleosis. For first line investigations in typical cases consult the Haematology laboratory for a Paul Bunnell test and differential full blood count. In the presence of negative results and clinical suspicion of infectious mononucleosis, collect a convalescent specimen one or two weeks later for repeat testing. Also consider testing for HIV, CMV IgM, CMV IgG and Toxoplasmosis. In some cases, at the end of the acute phase of infectious mononucleosis, isolated anti-VCA/EA IgG antibodies may be encountered with a drop in anti-VCA IgM antibodies and late appearance of anti-EBNA IgG antibodies.

Availability: Available locally during routine hours: 08:45 - 17:15.

Turnaround Time: 4 Days

Specimen Type(s)
  • Blood;
Other Acceptable Specimen Type(s)
Specimen Container - Adult
  • Gold Top SST BD;
Specimen Container - Paediatric
  • N/A;
  • Epstein-barr Virus Nuclear Antigen-1 IgG antibodies;
  • Epstein-barr Virus Viral Capsid Antigen IgG antibodies;
  • Epstein-barr Virus Viral Capsid Antigen IgM antibodies;
Part of a test profile?
Volume (min) of sample to be sent to laboratory
Patient Preparation, Sample Handling and Transport
  • Minimum-clotting time 30 minutes.
  • Specimens should be transported to the laboratory as soon as possible.
  • Outside of normal hours samples should be refrigerated (2 °C to 8 °C).
  • Do NOT send grossly haemolyzed specimens (>500 mg/dL haemoglobin).
  • Do NOT send specimens with obvious microbial contamination.
Maximum add on time
Units and Reference Ranges / Interpretation
EBV VCA-IgM: Non reactive / Greyzone / Reactive
EBV VCA-IgG: Non reactive / Greyzone / Reactive
EBV EBNA-1 IgG: Non reactive / Greyzone / Reactive

Test may indicate:

  • Seronegative (no infection)
  • Early phase acute primary infection
  • Acute Primary Infection
  • Transient Infection
  • Past Infection

UKAS number
UKAS accredited test?

Performance has not been established using cadaver specimens.

Results should be used in conjunction with clinical impressions and the results of other tests. If results are inconsistent with clinical evidence, additional testing is suggested to confirm the result.

Heterophilic antibodies in human serum can react with reagent immunoglobulins, interfering with in vitro immunoassays. Patients routinely exposed to animal or to animal serum products can be prone to this interference.

Specimens from patients who have received preparations of mouse monoclonal antibodies for diagnosis or therapy may contain human anti-mouse antibodies (HAMA). Specimens containing (HAMA) may produce anomalous values when tested.

If you have any queries about a test or results interpretation please contact us.

Last updated: 30-05-2023