IM screening test

Print this article
Share this page:
Also known as: Heterophile antibody test; Monospot; Mono test; Paul Bunnell test; glandular fever screen
Formal name: Heterophile antibody titre
Related tests: Tests for antibodies to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) antigens

At a Glance

Why Get Tested?

To be screened for infectious mononucleosis (glandular fever)

When to Get Tested?

If you have symptoms of mononucleosis, including fever, sore throat, swollen glands, and fatigue.

Sample Required?

A blood sample drawn from a vein in your arm.

The Test Sample

What is being tested?

The Monospot test detects heterophile antibodies. These antibodies are called "heterophile" because they react with the cells of other species of animals. The antibodies are made in response to an infection by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and, much less commonly, in response to some other viruses or non-infectious conditions.

EBV causes infectious mononucleosis (glandular fever), a self-limiting disease.
Infectious mononucleosis is characterised by the presence of unusual white blood cells (atypical lymphocytes) in an infected person. Patients generally have these symptoms: fever, sore throat, swollen glands, and fatigue. About 70% - 80% of patients with infectious mononucleosis produce heterophile antibodies.

How is the sample collected for testing?

A blood sample is drawn by needle from a vein in the arm.

The Test

Common Questions

Ask a Laboratory Scientist

* indicates a required field!

Please indicate whether you are a:   

You must provide a valid email address in order to receive a response.

| |

Article Sources

« Return to Related Pages

NOTE: This article is based on research that utilizes the sources cited here as well as the collective experience of the Lab Tests Online Editorial Review Board. This article is periodically reviewed by the Editorial Board and may be updated as a result of the review. Any new sources cited will be added to the list and distinguished from the original sources used.