Pathologist Questions Mono

When should a test for mono be done?

My daughter has a fever and a runny nose. Mono is going around in her school, and I have a feeling that she has it as well. What tests can be done to confirm it?

3 Answers

When patient have symptoms that a healthcare professional suspects are due to infectious mononucleosis. Blood test can detect the appearance of the atypical, activated lymphocytes. Epstein-Barr Virus - EBV (infectious mononucleosis) is a gamma group herpes virus that causes a benign, self-limited lymphoproliferative disease, and is characterized by fever, generalized lymphadenopathy, splenomegaly (large spleen), sore throat, and the appearance of atypical lymphocytes in blood. EBV enters the epithelial cell cytoplasm by directly fusing with the plasma membrane. Also, EBV enters the B-cell cytoplasm by directly fusing with the plasma membrane. There are two EBV proteins produced by the virus, the EBNA2 and LMP-1 that occurs in latently infected lymphocytes. Thank you.
Mononucleosis is a set of symptoms consisting of fever, sore throat often with pus on the tonsils, large glands in the neck, fever, and enlarge spleen. In addition, fatigue, stuffy nose, poor appetite and general malaise are common. It is caused by a virus called “EBV” and can be tested for by two distinct tests. One is the “monospot,” which in some cases is doing in physician’s offices. It has its limitations, as it is often negative early in the disease, and does not reflect a new, or recent infection, from an old infectionThe second test is a direct test of the antibodies, and this test can distinguish early from old infection and is much more reliable. Having said that, fever and runny nose can be due to almost any respiratory virus, so testing may be negative. Realize also that even with a positive test for EBV, there is no direct treatment. We simply treat the symptoms, keep the patient well hydrated and comfortable, and wait. It can be a miserable illness.  

Dr. Karam
Persistent fever, tiredness, and sore throat are usually the symptoms of mono. Usually, tests are more likely to be positive if symptoms have lasted a week or more. There is a test for antibodies to EBV that is more accurate than monospot.