Epstein Barr Testing Methods For EBV Detection

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Epstein Barr test

The Epstein Barr virus test is used to identify if a person is infected with a virus called the Epstein Barr virus and to assess the risk level for a potential infection. The Epstein Barr virus is normally transmitted through saliva. Typical symptoms of infection are sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, high fever, fatigue, and a feeling of discomfort. A physical examination may also reveal an enlarged liver or spleen. It can also lead to a condition called mononucleosis or mono. Mononucleosis is also popularly known as the 'kissing disease' because the infection is transmitted mainly through saliva.

It is important to know that an infection by the Epstein Barr virus may not always make a person sick. In fact, a majority of the people may already be carrying the virus in its dormant state. Once infected, the virus stays in a dormant state, also called incubation. Following this, the virus may cause an infection, which disappears after a few days. The virus does not leave the body once infected and can become active again.

Common Methods To Detect an Epstein Barr Virus

The most common methods to detect an Epstein Barr virus infection are mono spot, complete blood count, EBV serology testing, throat culture, and liver profile.

Mono Spot

This test can help to identify if an individual has an infectious mononucleosis that is caused by the Epstein Barr virus. To perform this test a sample of the patient's blood is collected from the vein. It is important to know that a negative mononucleosis test does not mean that the patient is not carrying the Epstein Barr virus.

Complete blood count

It is common for a doctor to ask for a common blood count if they suspect an Epstein Barr virus infection. A higher than normal white blood cell count may be due to an infection

EBV Serology Testing

An EBV serology testing procedure can help to detect if an individual has an infection due to the Epstein Barr virus, and if they are prone to future infections due to a dormant virus. These tests are called VCA-IgM, VA-IgG, EA-D, and EBNA. The VCA-IgM, VA-IgG, and EA-D tests can help to identify a current infection, and the EBNA will help to diagnose a future infection due to an existing dormant virus.

Throat Culture

Analysis of the cells collected from a throat swab also helps in identifying and EBV infection.

Liver Profile

Chronic EBV infection may lead to an infection of the liver. A liver profile test can help to diagnose an existing infection due to the virus.

Infection due to the Epstein Barr virus is common and individuals from the age of 10 to 35 are most susceptible to it. It is also important to know that the immune system of the human body trains itself to reduce the after effects of the virus infection after the first occurrence.