IM screening test

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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

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