What we test

Epstein Barr Virus Serology

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) antibodies help diagnose a current, recent, or past EBV infection. EBV is a common member of the herpes virus family that is passed through the saliva and as many as 95% of adults are thought to have been infected. After exposure to the virus there is an incubation period of several weeks - EBV then causes an acute infection and then lies dormant. Latent EBV remains in the person’s body for the rest of their life, reactivating intermittently, but causing few problems unless the immune system is significantly compromised.

Epstein Barr Virus Serology

If an individual is positive for IgM antibodies, then it is likely that the person has an EBV infection and it may be early in the course of the illness.

The IgG antibody appears within a week of infection, then persists for life. If the IgG antibody isn't present, then the person is susceptible to contracting the virus. If the IgM antibody is negative but IgG antibody is positive, then it is likely that the person tested had a previous EBV infection.

Does not usually appear until the acute infection has resolved - it develops about 2 to 4 months after the initial infection and is then is present for life.

Test instructions

Print out the pathology form that we email you.

Take your form to your local collection centre to have your blood sample taken - no need for an appointment.

You do not need to fast for this blood test.

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