Poxvirus - Skin

Testing Indications

Poxvirus testing is not available at Public Health Ontario’s (PHO) laboratory.

Samples requesting poxvirus will be forwarded to the National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) in Winnipeg. Samples will be tested by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and where applicable by cell culture.

For further information see https://cnphi.canada.ca/gts/laboratory/1021. 

For detailed information on Monkeypox testing instructions, please see Monkeypox test information sheet.

Specimen Collection and Handling

Specimen Requirements

Test Requested Required Requisition(s) Specimen Type Minimum Volume Collection Kit

Molecular

Crust fluid or material

N/A

Sterile tube/
container or Virus Culture Collection Kit order #390081

Molecular

Swab of lesion

N/A

Sterile tube/
container or Virus Culture Collection Kit order# 390081

Molecular

CSF/Serum

0.5 ml

Sterile tube/container

Molecular

Frozen tissues/Formalin fixed or paraffin embedded tissues

Entire blocks, or four to six 10-micron block sections

Sterile container (clearly label if formalin fixed).

Submission and Collection Notes

1

If you suspect a case of Smallpox, Monkeypox or non Molluscum poxvirus - Consult with PHO laboratory microbiologist and your local Public Health Unit. Do not collect specimens for microbiological examination prior to consultation with PHO. If testing is agreed to, PHO laboratory will provide the submitter with further direction about next steps.

2

If molluscsum contagiosum is the poxvirus under consideration please see Molluscum Contagiosum TIS and order molluscum contagiosum.  

3

Refer to Monkeypox TIS for ordering instructions.

4

Swab samples can be collected as a dry swab or added to a minimum volume of viral transport media; avoid excessive dilution of the sample.

5

Samples submitted on glass slides are not suitable for testing. 

Preparation Prior to Transport

Label the specimen with the patient’s full name, date of collection and one other unique identifier such as the patient’s date of birth or Health Card Number.

Place the specimen container in the biohazard bag and seal the bag; insert the completed requisition in the pocket on the outside of the sealed biohazard bag. To maintain optimal viability of the virus, specimens should be stored at 2-8°C following collection and transported to PHO on ice packs within 72 hours of collection. If longer storage/transit time is anticipated, specimens should be frozen at -70°C or lower and transported on dry ice. Tissues should be frozen or formaline fixed/paraffin embedded.

Special Instructions

Complete all fields of the PHO General Test Requisition Form: include the requesting healthcare provider's CPSO#, complete mailing address, telephone, and fax number, and the patient’s full name, date of birth, Health Card Number (must match the specimen label). Failure to do so may result in rejection or testing delay. Place specimen in biohazard bag and seal. Specimens should be stored at 2-8°C following collection and shipped to PHO laboratory on ice packs.

Requisitions and Kit Ordering

Test Frequency and Turnaround Time (TAT)

Poxvirus testing is not available at PHO Laboratory.

Samples requesting poxvirus will be forwarded to the National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) in Winnipeg. Samples will be tested by polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

Turn around time is approximately 2 calendar days from receipt at NML.

For further information see https://cnphi.canada.ca/gts/laboratory/1021.

Reporting

Results are reported to the ordering physician or health care provider as indicated on the requisition.

Test Methods

Poxviruses testing is a referred out test. Samples are sent to the National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) in Winnipeg. Samples will be tested by nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT) and also, where applicable, cell culture.

For further information on testing at NML, refer to the NML Guide to Services - Special Pathogens Section.

contact lab

Contact Laboratory Customer Service

Laboratory Services

customerservicecentre@oahpp.ca

Updated 19 May 2022