Mononucleosis spot test

Monospot test; Heterophile antibody test; Heterophile agglutination test; Paul-Bunnell test; Forssman antibody test

The mononucleosis spot test looks for 2 antibodies in the blood. These antibodies appear during or after an infection with the virus that causes mononucleosis, or mono.

Mononucleosis - photomicrograph of cells

This so-called Downy cell is typical of lymphocytes infected by EBV (Epstein Barr Virus) or CMV (Cytomegalovirus) in infectious mononucleosis. Downy cells may be classified as types I, II, or III. This is a type II Downy cell.

Mononucleosis - view of the throat

Infectious mononucleosis causes a sore throat, enlarged lymph nodes, and fatigue. The throat may appear red and the tonsils covered with a whitish material. Mononucleosis and severe streptococcal tonsillitis appear quite similar. Unless there are other findings to suggest mononucleosis, a throat culture and blood studies may be necessary to make an accurate diagnosis.

Throat swabs

A throat swab can be used to determine if Group A Streptococcus bacteria is the cause of pharyngitis in a patient.

How the Test is Performed

How to Prepare for the Test

How the Test will Feel

Why the Test is Performed

Normal Results

What Abnormal Results Mean

Risks