Infectious mononucleosis, or mono, is a disease most frequently caused by infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). The viruses that cause mono are commonly spread through bodily fluids, especially saliva. While less common, transmission may also occur through blood and semen during sexual contact, blood transfusions, and organ transplantations.
Several tests may be used to confirm a diagnosis of infectious mononucleosis, including mononucleosis testing, also called heterophile antibody testing. Mononucleosis testing is performed with a blood sample and looks for specific substances that form in the body during the infection. Mono test results are generally available within an hour.
EBV is the most common cause of infectious mononucleosis, although other viruses can also cause this disease. Also known as human herpesvirus 4, EBV is a member of the herpes virus family. Mono is most common among teenagers and young adults. Approximately 25% of people infected with EBV develop infectious mononucleosis.
Mono may be diagnosed based on a person’s symptoms, so laboratory tests are not always used to diagnose this condition. However, many experts recommend using laboratory tests to confirm a diagnosis of mono. Laboratory tests used in diagnosing infectious mononucleosis include mononucleosis testing, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) antibody tests, and a complete blood count.
A mono test may be ordered when a person has symptoms that a health care professional suspects are due to infectious mononucleosis. Some of the more common signs and symptoms of this disease include:
→ Sore throat
→ Extreme fatigue
→ Swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpits
→ Head and body aches
→ Enlarged liver, spleen, or both
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