Lab Test

Epstein Barr Virus, Quantitative, Plasma

Test Codes

Mayo: EBVQN, EPIC: LAB7595, Beaker:

Specimen Collection Criteria

Collect: One lavender-top EDTA tube

Physician Office/Draw Specimen Preparation

Centrifuge to separate plasma from cells. Transfer plasma to a plastic transport tube and freeze (-20°C/-4°F or below) immediately. (Minimum: 0.8 mL)

Preparation for Courier Transport

Transport: 1.5 mL plasma, frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below). (Minimum: 0.8 mL)

Rejection Criteria

Specimens not collected and processed as indicated.


In-Lab Processing

Centrifuge to separate plasma from cells. Transfer plasma to a plastic transport tube and freeze (-20°C/-4°F or below) immediately. (Minimum: 0.8 mL)


Specimen Stability for Testing:

All Specimen Types
Room temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F): unacceptable
Refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F): 6 days
Frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below): 84 days

Specimen Storage in Department Prior to Disposal:

Specimen retention time is determined by the policy of the reference laboratory. Contact the Send Outs Laboratory with any questions. 


Sent to Mayo Clinic Laboratories in Rochester, MN.


Monday – Friday.
Results available in 3-4 days.

Reference Range

By report.

Test Methodology

Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR).


By report.

Clinical Disease

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is the etiological agent of infectious mononucleosis and has been implicated in African Burkitt's lymphoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Childhood infections may be asymptomatic or produce "flu-like" illness. Adolescents and adults who escape infection during childhood experience infectious mononucleosis (IM). IM is characterized by irregular fever, pharyngitis, and lymphadenopathy lasting 1 to 4 weeks. Hematological abnormalities include an absolute increase in lymphocytes and monocytes exceeding 50% and more than 15% atypical lymphocytes, lasting for at least 2 weeks. Liver function tests generally reveal a mild to moderate increase in SPGT, SGOT, bilirubin, and LDH levels. IM is usually a benign and self-limited disease. Complications including splenomegaly and splenic rupture, hepatitis, pericarditis, myocarditis, or central nervous system involvement (Guillain-Barre syndrome, Bell's palsy, transverse myelitis, and meningoencephalitis) may occur following IM infection. (1)


EBV occurs throughout the world and more than 90% of adults have antibodies to the virus. Most individuals acquire EBV early in life. Seroepidemiologic studies have indicated that 50% of children have antibodies to the virus by the time they are 5 years of age. No seasonality has been demonstrated. (1)

Incubation Period

The incubation period is 4-7 weeks. (1)


EBV is poorly contagious. Transmission is via salivary contact, either through kissing or by exposure to contaminated eating implements. (1)


  1. Wiedbrauk D, Johnston SLG. Manual of Clinical Virology, Raven Press, New York,NY, 1993.

CPT Codes



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