PCR Detection of Viral DNA in Serum as an Ancillary Analysis for the Diagnosis of Acute Mononucleosis-Like Syndrome Due to Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) in Immunocompetent Patients

J Clin Virol. 2006 Feb;35(2):193-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jcv.2005.07.008. Epub 2005 Aug 24.


Background: Serologic tests are occasionally inconclusive for the diagnosis of mononucleosis-like syndrome due to human cytomegalovirus (HCMV).

Objectives: To determine the value of viral DNA detection in serum by PCR as an ancillary test for the diagnosis of HCMV mononucleosis.

Study design: Sera from 34 previously healthy individuals with HCMV mononucleosis, obtained within 1 month after the onset of symptoms, were assayed for viral DNA by three commercial PCRs (QCA gB, QCA MIE and Amplicor CMV Monitor). Sera from 30 patients with evidence of past HCMV infection served as controls.

Results: Viral DNA was detected in 20% of the samples from patients with HCMV mononucleosis by both QCA procedures, but in none of the controls. All samples tested negative by the Amplicor CMV Monitor.

Conclusion: Analysis of sera for the presence of HCMV DNA is of limited value for the diagnosis of HCMV mononucleosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Cytomegalovirus / genetics
  • Cytomegalovirus / immunology
  • Cytomegalovirus / isolation & purification*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / blood
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / immunology*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / virology
  • DNA, Viral / analysis*
  • DNA, Viral / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infectious Mononucleosis / blood
  • Infectious Mononucleosis / diagnosis*
  • Infectious Mononucleosis / immunology
  • Infectious Mononucleosis / virology
  • Male
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • DNA, Viral
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic