Specimen Collection and Handling

Specimen Requirements

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

HHV6 PCR, HHV6 Molecular testing, or Roseola infantum PCR, or Exanthema Subitum PCR


1.0 ml

EDTA or Lavender top tube

HHV6 PCR, HHV6 Molecular testing, or Roseola infantum PCR, or Exanthema Subitum PCR


1.0 ml

Sterile tube

Submission and Collection Notes


Submit plasma if primary infection or reactivation in immunocompromised individuals is suspected. Collect blood in EDTA tubes. Do not use heparin as anti-coagulant. 


Submit CSF for cases of encephalitis. Collect CSF in dry tube subject to classic conditions for carrying out lumbar punctures.


Specimens for routine monitoring of HHV-6 infection in transplant patients will not be tested.


Indicate symptoms and date of onset on the General Test Requisition Form.  


Haemolysed, icteric, lipemic or microbially contaminated sera or plasma are not recommended for testing.

Preparation Prior to Transport

Label the specimen container 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. Failure to provide this information may result in rejection or testing delay.

Special Instructions

Place specimen container in biohazard bag and seal. Specimens should be stored at 2-8°C following collection and shipped to PHOL on ice packs.

Requisitions and Kit Ordering

Test Frequency and Turnaround Time (TAT)

HHV-6 PCR test is a Referred Out Test. Samples are sent to the National Microbiology Lab (NML) in Winnipeg.

Turnaround time is up to 21 days from receipt by PHO laboratory.


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

Test Methods

Specimens for HHV-6 are tested by Quantitative PCR Detection of HHV-6 DNA. DNA is extracted from specimens and tested by real-time PCR using the Argene “CMV HHV-6, 7, 8 R-gene™ Quantification Kit”, which targets an 116bp fragment of the U57 gene. The results are reported as copy number of HHV-6 DNA per mL of original specimen. 

This assay is for research purposes only.

Only specimens that meet NML patient and specimen criteria will be forwarded to NML for testing.

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Updated 20 July 2020