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Mononucleosis Tests

What Affects the Test

Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:

  • Having an EBV antibody test within the first few weeks of becoming infected with EBV. This may lead to a false-negative result. If the first test does not indicate mono but you still have symptoms, the test may be repeated.
  • Other infection or disease, such as cytomegalovirus (CMV), leukemia or lymphoma, rubella, hepatitis, or lupus. Although the symptoms of these infections and diseases are similar to mono, the monospot test usually will be negative.

What To Think About

  • Since many people are exposed to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) during childhood, most adults have EBV antibodies of a type called IgG. The presence of the IgG type of antibody does not mean that you have had a recent infection with EBV.
  • Rapid diagnostic tests for mono are not useful for children younger than 4 years.
  • Although some people think that the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) may be related to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), experts have found no evidence for this. The monospot test and the EBV antibody test are not used to diagnose or monitor CFS.
  • Children, especially those younger than 2 years, are more likely than adults to have a negative monospot test, even when they have mono. This is called a false-negative result.

Citations

  1. Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.

Other Works Consulted

  • Chernecky 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.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerW. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
Last RevisedOctober 3, 2012
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 03, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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