Pathology Handbook

Glandular fever screen

Synonyms

Heterophile Antibody, GF, IM, Paul Bunnell, mononucleosis.

Clinical Indications

To demonstrate the presence of the antibody produced by Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) which is responsible for causing infectious mononucleosis

Request Form 

Request on ICE

Availability

On request; daily routine working day

Specific Criteria

None

Patient Preparation

None

Turnaround Time

Usually within two days

Specimen

Serum

Volume

7mL

Container

Red top; SST samples are acceptable

Vacutainer red top

Causes for Rejection

Incorrect sample labelling. insufficient sample  or grossly haemolysed.

Reference Range

See patient test report

Interpretation

Infectious mononucleosis or glandular fever is caused by the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV). The body's response to EBV is to produce heterophile antibodies, which are usually present between 4 to 6 days from onset of infection and may last for up to 5 months.

Positive results are obtained in around 86% of cases of infectious mononucleosis. Patients with continued symptoms and negative heterophile antibody tests should be re-tested within 14 days as occasionally the antibody is not produced for several weeks