27 Jul

Tube Agglutination Test

The tube agglutination test can be used to determine if an individual is infected with the Epstein-Barr virus, the cause of infectious mononucleosis.  Infectious mononucleosis is a disease that mainly affects those between the ages of 13-25.  The virus can be isolated from the saliva of infected individuals.  The disease causes a fever, sore throat, and enlargement of the cervical lymph nodes.  The serological test takes advantage of an unusual characteristic of the antibodies that recognize the virus: they agglutinate sheep blood cells.  EBV is a heterophile antigen which means that it stiumulates the production of antibodies capable of reacting with tissues of other organisms.  The antibodies are referred to as heterophile antibodies.  The patient’s blood serum is diluted sheep blood is added to the various dilutions in test tubes.  After overnight incubation the tubes are analyzed.  If agglutination is present this suggests the presence of antibodies to EBV in the patient’s blood and an infection.