Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) belongs to the group of Herpes viruses (Human Herpes Virus 4, HHV 4) and is the causative agent of infectious mononucleosis. The mode of transmission is through direct contact of the mucous membranes with the saliva of an infected patient. It is replicated in the epithelial cells of the orpharynx or neck and then enters the B lymphocytes where it continues to proliferate. This leads to the clinical picture of mononucleosis (kiss disease or Pfeiffer's disease). After a 4 to 8-week incubation period, signs and symptoms of the disease appear, including malaise, anorexia, chills, fever, neck lymphadenopathy, pharyngitis, splenomegaly, hepatitis, and atypical lymphocytosis in the complete blood count. Of course, the majority of Epstein-Barr virus infections are asymptomatic or with very mild symptoms. Epstein-Barr virus can remain latent in B lymphocytes and can lead to their modification and conversion to cancerous. Epstein-Barr virus has been implicated in lymphomas (including Burkitt's lymphoma) and nasopharyngeal carcinomas.
The antibodies against Epstein-Barr virus are four: IgM and IgG VCA (against Viral Capsid Antigen), IgG EA (against Early Antigen) and IgG EBNA (Against Nuclear Antigen). Measurement of these antibodies is useful in distinguishing recent primary infection, acute infection, reactivation, and past inactive infection.
|EBV Infection||VCA IgG||VCA IgM||EA IgG||EBNA IgG|
|Acute||+||+||+ / -||-|
|Recent||+||+ / -||+ / -||+ / -|
|Reactivation||+||+ / -||+||+|
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.