Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) Antibodies to Viral Capsid Antigen (VCA), IgM
Fasting Required: No

Specimen: Blood

Lab: Quest Diagnostics

Results: 2-3 business days

Note: Result turnaround times are an estimate and are not guaranteed. Our reference lab may need additional time due to weather, holidays, confirmation/repeat testing, or equipment maintenance.

Description: The EBV (Epstein Barr Virus) Antibodies to Viral Capsid Antigen (VCA) IgM test looks for a type of antibody which the body develops in response to infection with Epstein-Barr Virus. IgM antibodies typically appear shortly after infection and disappears at around 4-6 weeks. A positive result for this test usually indicates an active infection in the early course of the illness. In cases where the virus reactivates after being dormant in the body, IgM antibodies may be produced in low levels.

EBV is a member of the herpesvirus family and is one of the most common human viruses. The virus occurs worldwide, and most people become infected with EBV sometime during their lives. In the United States, as many as 95% of adults between 35 and 40 years of age have been infected. Transmission of EBV requires contact with the saliva of an infected person. The incubation period, or the time from infection to appearance of symptoms, ranges from 4 to 6 weeks. IgM antibody appears early in EBV infection and disappears within 4 to 6 weeks.

If someone is positive for VCA-IgM antibodies, then it is likely that he has an EBV infection, and it may be early in the course of the illness. If the person also has symptoms associated with mono, then it is most likely that he will be diagnosed with mono, even if the mono test was negative.