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Infectious Diseases

Mononeucleosis

05/23/2006

Question:

I`ve been exposed to mononeucleosis virus. Now I`m thinking about taking mono test. I need to be sure how contangious I might be for the pepole around me, and to plan as much as I can for a possible month-long seakness. The problem is can a test tell if I have mono or not, if I don`t feel any symptoms yet? In other words, can it diagnose the virus during the incubation period?

Answer:

You can do a complete blood count and EBV specific antibodies. The EBV-specific antibodies are directed against EBV antigens, which develop in a typical time course reflective of the viral replication cycle. These antigens are classified as early, late, or latent, depending on the phase of viral replication in which they appear. They also are differentiated by their location within the infected cells and by their response to methanol treatment. Early antigens (EAs) become detectable 3-4 weeks following the onset of symptoms in approximately 70% of patients, especially those with severe symptoms. These antibodies usually persist for 3-6 months. Immunoglobulin M (IgM) anti-VCA antibody is detectable at the onset of symptoms and persists for 1-3 months. Immunoglobulin G (IgG) anti-VCA antibody also appears early in the course of the illness and reaches a peak 2-3 months following the outset. 

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Response by:

Pamposh   Kaul, MD Pamposh Kaul, MD
Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati