25 Mar

Tube Agglutination Test

The tube agglutination test for infectious mononucleosis (IM) takes advantage of an unusual property of sheep red blood cells.  These blood cells agglutinate in the presence of antibodies produced against the virus that causes this disease.  Infectious mononucleosis is a benign disease, occurring principally in individuals between 13-25 years old.  It is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus which is a herpesvirus that is one of the most common viruses in humans.  Studies have shown that the virus can be isolated from the saliva of patients with IM as well as from some healthy asymptomatic individuals.  Between 80-90% of all adults possess antibodies for EBV.  The disease is characterized by a sudden onset of fever, sore throat, and pronounced enlargement of the cervical lymph nodes.