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Test Directory - Heterophile Antibody Screen


Monospot, Glandular Fever screen

Clinical Indications

To demonstrate the presence of the antibody to the virus (Epstein Barr) responsible for causing infectious mononucleosis / Glandular Fever.

Request Form

Combined Pathology Blood form (Yellow/Black or Blue for GP's)


On request

Specific Criteria


Turnaround Time

Usually within two days




3mL or 7mL


Purple top (EDTA) tube.


Samples should be transported to laboratory immediately.

Lab. Handling

Sample must be tested within 72 hours of receipt in laboratory

Causes for Rejection

Unlabelled sample. Not meeting specific criteria for analysis. Delay in sample reaching laboratory. Underfilled, clotted or haemolysed samples.



1. Grossly haemolysed or contaminated samples
2. Insufficient antibody levels
3.10-20% of adults and 50% children do not produce heterophile 
leukaemia, Burkett’s lymphoma, rheumatoid arthritis, viral hepatitis and
    CMV, can demonstrate the presence of heterophile antibodies
5. Heterophile antibodies can persisit for several months after recovery.


Infectious mononucleosis or glandular fever is caused by the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) The bodies 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 as occasionally the antibody is not produced for several weeks.

Please note: negative results may be obtained if insufficient antibody is present in the specimen. Please repeat at a later date if negative results are obtained and symptoms still persist.



Version 1.1 / December  2014