Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) – Serology

Consistent with O. Reg. 671/92 of the French Language Services Act, laboratory testing information on this page is only available in English because it is scientific or technical in nature and is for use only by qualified health care providers and not by members of the public.

Specimen Collection and Handling

Specimen Requirements

Test Requested Required Requisition(s) Specimen Type Minimum Volume Collection Kit

EBV Serology


1.0 ml

Blood, clotted - vacutainer tubes (SST)

EBV Serology


5.0 ml

Blood, clotted - vacutainer tubes (SST)

Submission and Collection Notes


Specimens received for EBV Serology will be tested for:

  • EBV Viral Capsid Antigen IgG (VCA IgG) 
  • EBV Nuclear Antigen IgG (EBNA)

Testing for EBV Viral Capsid Antigen IgM (VCA IgM) will be conducted under the following circumstances:

  • Upon request by the ordering physician along with clinical information suggesting a recent/current infection. The following information must be included.
    • symptoms
    • date of onset
  • Children under 5 years of age: the following information must be included. 
    • Date of birth
    • Symptoms
    • Date of onset


Haemolyzed, icteric, lipemic or microbially contaminated sera are not recommended for testing.

Storage and Transport

Label the specimen container with the patient’s full name, date of collection and one other unique identifier such as the patient’s date of birth or Health Card Number. Failure to provide this information may result in rejection or testing delay.

Special Instructions

Centrifuge if using SST. Place specimen in biohazard bag and seal. Specimens should be stored at 2-8°C following collection and shipped to PHOL on ice packs.

Instructions for using SST tubes are found in the document titled: LAB-SD-008, Blood Collection using Serum Separator Tubes.

Requisitions and Kit Ordering

Test Frequency and Turnaround Time (TAT)

Epstein Barr Virus serology testing is performed daily Monday to Friday. 

Turnaround time is up to 5 days from receipt by PHO Laboratory.

Test Methods

The EBV IgG and IgM tests are performed using the BioPlex 2200 EBV IgG and IgM kit for use with the Bio-Rad BioPlex 2200 System.

It is a Multiplex Flow Immunoassay test intended for the qualitative detection of IgG antibodies to Epstein-Barr Virus Nuclear Antigen-1 (EBV-NA1), Viral Capsid Antigen (EBV VCA), and IgM antibodies to Epstein-Barr Virus Viral Capsid Antigen IgM (EBV VCA IgM) in human serum samples.

The EBV IgG kit is used in conjunction with the EBV IgM kit as an aid in the laboratory diagnosis of infectious mononucleosis (IM).

Assay performance characteristics have not been established for immunocompromised or immunosuppressed patients, cord blood, neonatal specimens, or infants. Assay performance characteristics have not been established for the diagnosis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma, Burkitt’s lymphoma, and other EBV associated lymphomas.


Results are reported to the ordering physician or health care provider as indicated on the requisition.

General information

EBV  belongs to the Herpes virus family. Primary EBV  infections occur mostly during adolescence with 95% of the population having been infected by age 40. Reactivation to EBV can occur at later times. EBV has been linked with Burkitt’s lymphoma and Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma.

Monospot/slide testing

Monoslide/ Monospot is not available at PHO laboratory – contact your private /community lab.

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Laboratory Services


Updated 11 March 2024