Does this test have other names?
Specific Epstein-Barr virus antibodies, EBV-specific antibodies
What is this test?
This is a blood test that checks for antibodies to the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Most
people are infected by this virus at some point. EBV often doesn't have any symptoms,
but it can cause mononucleosis (mono) or other conditions in some people, especially
teens and young adults.
Why do I need this test?
Your healthcare provider may order this test if you have symptoms that might be caused
by mono, such as sore throat, fatigue, fever, rash, swollen glands in the neck, or
an enlarged spleen. He or she will use the test to see if EBV is causing your illness.
Your healthcare provider may not order the EBV antibodies test unless your results
for other mono tests are negative.
What other tests might I have along with this test?
If your healthcare provider suspects that you may have mono, you will likely have
other blood tests such as a mono test, also called a mono spot test. This test looks
for different antibodies in the blood, but does not confirm the presence of EBV. You
may also have a blood test to check your blood cell counts. People with mono often
have higher than normal levels of white blood cells called lymphocytes. Blood tests
to check for other infections may also be done. If you have a sore throat, you may
also get a throat swab to check for strep throat.
What do my test results mean?
Many things may affect your lab test results. These include the method each lab uses
to do the test. Even if your test results are different from the normal value, you
may not have a problem. To learn what the results mean for you, talk with your healthcare
If the results for your EBV antibodies test are negative, it likely means you have
never been infected with EBV. If your test is positive, it could mean a few different
things. Some types of EBV antibodies are present in higher numbers during an active
infection. Other EBV antibodies mean that you had an infection in the past. Depending
on the type of antibodies your test shows, your healthcare provider can find out more
about what is causing your illness.
How is this test done?
The test requires a blood sample, which is drawn through a needle from a vein in your
Does this test pose any risks?
Taking a blood sample with a needle carries risks that include bleeding, infection,
bruising, or feeling dizzy. When the needle pricks your arm, you may feel a slight
stinging sensation or pain. Afterward, the site may be slightly sore.
What might affect my test results?
A past EBV infection can affect your test results.
How do I get ready for this test?
You don't need to prepare for this test.