The Epstein-Barr virus is commonly called EBV. This virus is part of the herpes virus family and one of the most common viruses in humans. It occurs all over the world and almost everyone will become infected with it sometime during their lives. There are as many as 95% of adults in the United States between the ages of 35 and 40 who have been infected. Infants are susceptible to Epstein-Barr virus as soon as the antibody protection that is present at birth fades away.
Diagnosis for Epstein-Barr is based on the symptoms of fever, swollen lymph glands, fever and the age of the one with the symptoms. An enlarged liver and/or spleen may be noticed during a physical exam. Sometimes laboratory tests are needed to confirm the virus. Those who become infected with Epstein-Barr are asymptomatic but the virus commonly leads to infectious mononucleosis (mono). If the virus lasts longer than six months, it is many times called chronic EBV. Some doctors believe that EBV is the cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but not definitively proven.
The EBV antibody test is used to test for the Epstein-Barr virus. It will detect any recent infections as well as one that has occurred in the past. No antibodies to EBV will be found in those who have never been infected before with EBV. A positive result from the test will mean that antibodies to EBV have been found.
There is nothing special that needs to be done to prepare for the antibody test. Blood will be drawn either from the arm or the back of the hand. The blood drawn is sent off to the lab to be tested for antibodies. Antibodies are present to defend the body against foreign bodies, including bacteria and viruses. A microorganism will activate the body into producing these antibodies during an infection. The production of antibodies will increase during the entire course of the infection.