Hematologic differences in heterophile-positive and heterophile-negative infectious mononucleosis

Am J Hematol. 2004 Aug;76(4):315-8. doi: 10.1002/ajh.20119.


Infectious mononucleosis (IM) due to all causes is characterized by atypical lymphocytosis. We sought to compare hematologic parameters of infectious mononucleosis due to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection (heterophile antibody (HA) positive) with mononucleosis due to other causes. Mono-Latex Slide Agglutination Test results and complete blood counts (CBC) of 147 patients with mononucleosis were retrospectively analyzed. Leukocyte count, absolute lymphocyte count, and presence of atypical lymphocytes in EBV-positive and EBV-negative groups were statistically compared. We analyzed 68 EBV-positive and 79 EBV-negative cases. EBV-positive patients were significantly younger than EBV-negative patients were. Mean total WBC count and mean absolute lymphocyte count were significantly higher in EBV-positive patients. Absolute lymphocytosis, absolute leukocytosis, and atypical lymphocytosis were also significantly more frequent in EBV-positive patients. Leukopenia was more frequently seen in EBV-negative patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Heterophile / blood*
  • Cattle
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross Reactions
  • Female
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Infectious Mononucleosis / blood*
  • Infectious Mononucleosis / classification
  • Infectious Mononucleosis / immunology
  • Infectious Mononucleosis / virology
  • Latex Fixation Tests
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Leukopenia / etiology
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Lymphocytosis / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Antibodies, Heterophile