Description: The EBV antibody test is used to measure the antibodies present in the immune system. EBV tests are used to help diagnose mononucleosis (mono) by ruling out EBV and to differentiate between EBV infection and other infections that present with the same symptoms.
Also Known As: EBV Antibody Test, EBV Ab Test, EBV Test, EBV Panel, Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) Panel, Epstein Barr Virus EBV Antibody Panel
Collection Method: Blood Draw
Specimen Type: Serum
Test Preparation: No preparation required
Average Processing Time: 2 to 3 days
When is an Epstein-Barr Virus Antibody Panel test ordered?
When someone has symptoms that imply mono but a negative mono test, or when a pregnant woman has flu-like symptoms and her healthcare provider wants to know if the symptoms are caused by EBV or another microorganism, EBV antibody testing may be recommended.
When a healthcare provider wishes to know if they've been exposed to EBV before, testing might be ordered. When a healthcare provider wants to follow antibody concentrations or when the first test was negative but the healthcare practitioner still feels the person's symptoms are due to EBV, testing may be repeated.
What does an Epstein-Barr Virus Antibody Panel blood test check for?
The Epstein-Barr virus is a virus that causes a mild to moderate sickness in most people. Epstein-Barr virus blood tests detect EBV antibodies in the blood and aid in the diagnosis of EBV infection.
The Epstein-Barr virus produces a highly common infection. Most persons in the United States are infected with EBV at some point in their life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus is very contagious and can readily spread from one person to another. It is found in infected people's saliva and can be spread by intimate contact, such as kissing or sharing utensils or cups.
The incubation period is a period of several weeks following initial EBV exposure before related symptoms manifest. The virus multiplies in number during the acute primary infection. There is a drop in viral levels and a remission of symptoms after this, but the virus never totally disappears. EBV that stays latent in a person's body for the rest of their lives may reawaken, although it normally causes little problems unless the person's immune system is severely damaged.
The majority of people are infected with EBV as children and have few or no symptoms. When an infection arises in adolescence, however, it can lead to infectious mononucleosis, sometimes known as mono, which is characterized by fatigue, fever, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, an enlarged spleen, and occasionally an enlarged liver. About 25% of infected teens and young adults experience these symptoms, which normally go away within a month or two.
Mono is usually diagnosed based on symptoms and the results of a full blood count and a mono test. About 25% of people with mono don't create heterophile antibodies, resulting in a negative mono test; this is especially true in youngsters. Antibodies to the EBV virus can be tested to see if the symptoms these people are having are due to a current infection with the virus.
The most prevalent cause of mono is EBV. Other causes of mono, according to the CDC, include CMV, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C, rubella, and toxoplasmosis. It can be difficult to tell the difference between EBV and these other infections at times. For example, diagnosing the etiology of symptoms of a viral disease in a pregnant woman may be critical. Testing can assist distinguish between a primary EBV infection, which has not been demonstrated to harm a developing baby, and a CMV, herpes simplex virus, or toxoplasmosis infection, which can cause pregnancy difficulties and harm the fetus.
It's also crucial to rule out EBV infection and check for other possible explanations of symptoms. Those suffering from strep throat, a bacterial infection caused by group A streptococcus, must be recognized and treated with antibiotics. It's possible to have strep throat instead of mono, or to have both at the same time.
There are several assays for different types and classes of EBV antibodies. Antibodies are proteins produced by the body as part of an immune response to antigens from the Epstein-Barr virus. The amount of each of these EBV antibodies rises and declines as the illness proceeds during a primary EBV infection. Antibodies in the blood can help with diagnosis and can tell a doctor about the stage of illness and whether it's a current, recent, or past infection.
Antibody Viral Capsid Antigen-IgM antibody is commonly identified in the blood at this time. After being exposed to the virus, it appears for roughly 4 to 6 weeks before disappearing.
Antibody to VCA-IgG It appears during acute infection, with the maximum level at 2 to 4 weeks, then gradually decreases, stabilizes, and is present for the rest of one's life.
Antibody to the early antigen appears during the acute infection phase and subsequently fades; about 20% of people infected will have detectable amounts for several years after the EBV infection has cleared.
Lab tests often ordered with an Epstein-Barr Virus Antibody Panel test:
- Complete Blood Count (CBC)
- White Blood Cell Count (WBC)
- Blood Smear
Conditions where an Epstein-Barr Virus Antibody Panel test is recommended:
- Epstein-Barr Virus
How does my health care provider use an Epstein-Barr Virus Antibody Panel test?
If a person is symptomatic but has a negative mono test, blood tests for Epstein-Barr virus antibodies can help diagnose EBV infection, the most prevalent cause of infectious mononucleosis.
One or more EBV antibody tests, along with testing for cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis, and other infections, may be ordered in pregnant women with signs of a viral disease to assist distinguish between EBV and disorders that generate similar symptoms.
These tests may be conducted for asymptomatic people to see if they've been exposed to EBV before or are vulnerable to a primary EBV infection. This is not regularly done, but it may be requested if someone has been in intimate contact with a person who has mono, such as a teenager or an immunocompromised person.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends ordering a variety of tests to assess whether a person is vulnerable to EBV, as well as to detect a recent or earlier infection, or a reactivated EBV infection.
What do my Epstein Barr Virus antibody test results mean?
When interpreting the findings of EBV antibody testing, caution is advised. The person being tested's indications and symptoms, as well as his or her medical history, must be considered. A healthcare provider may seek the advice of an infectious disease specialist, particularly one who is familiar with EBV testing.
If someone tests positive for VCA-IgM antibodies, they are most likely infected with EBV and may be in the early stages of the illness. Even though the mono test was negative, the individual is most likely to be diagnosed with mono if they also have symptoms linked with it.
If a person's VCA-IgG and EA-D IgG tests come back positive, it's quite likely that they have an active or recent EBV infection.
If VCA-IgM is negative but VCA-IgG and an EBNA antibody are positive, the person tested most likely had an EBV infection before.
If a person is asymptomatic and negative for VCA-IgG, he or she has most likely never been exposed to EBV and is hence susceptible to infection.
In general, growing VCA-IgG levels suggest a current EBV infection, whereas dropping values indicate a recently resolved EBV infection. However, EBV antibody concentrations must be interpreted with caution because the amount of antibody present is unrelated to the severity of the infection or the length of time it will remain. High amounts of VCA-IgG may be present, and they may stay that way for the rest of one's life.
We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.
Epstein-Barr Virus VCA Antibody (IgM)
- <36.00 Negative
Epstein-Barr Virus VCA Antibody (IgG)
- <18.00 Negative
Epstein-Barr Virus Nuclear Antigen (EBNA) Antibody (IgG)
- <18.00 Negative