Virology

Viral Antibody Testing (Serology)

The Virology laboratory carries out a variety of viral and bacterial diagnosis or refers them to reference laboratories. Please see Virology Turnaround Times for further information about test turnaround.

Viral Serology analysis includes:

  • Immunity screening (IgG antibody)
  • Exposure (needle stick) incident screening
  • Treatment monitoring
  • Sexually transmitted screening
  • Tropical infection screening
  • Intrauterine pregnancy screening
  • Paediatric neonatal screening
  • Rash and specific clinical presentation screening
  • Blood borne virus screening
  • Organ / infertility (donor and recipient) screening
  • Antenatal clinic infectious diseases in pregnancy screening

Serological diagnosis is based on the demonstration of specific immunoglobulin IgM and IgG.  To this end, two blood samples may be required, the first as early as possible in the illness, a second should be sent approximately 14-30 days later.  The date of onset, symptoms and travel history must be stated on the request form as the clinical details are essential for effective serological testing.  If necessary continue details on the back of the form.

Commonly requested tests:

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Serology

Send a blood ssample stating whether this is a routine test for immunity status (IgG antibody) or a test for active CMV disease (IgM antibody). Please include all relevant clinical details.

Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) Serology (Glandular Fever)

Send a blood sample stating whether this is a routine test for Epstein Barr virus immunity status (EBNA IgG) or a test for active infection (VCA IgM and VCA IgG). The Epstein Barr virus specific antibodies are performed dependant on relevant clinical details.

Syphilis Serology (Treponemal / VDRL / TPHA Serology)

Send a blood sample stating whether this is a routine screen (total antibody) giving appropriate clinical details or treatment follow-up analysis. Reactive tests will be sent to Newcastle HPA Laboratory for confirmation and further tests. A second sample of blood may be requested.

Toxoplasma Serology

Send a blood clotted sample stating all relevant clinical details. Reactive tests will be sent to the reference laboratory (Swansea) for further tests. A second sample of blood may be requested.

Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) Immunity/Serology

Send a blood sample stating whether this is a routine screen for immunity status, or an immune suppressed or pregnant contact of Chickenpox/shingles (VZV IgG screen). Please include the contact date and circumstances.

Please note that serology is not useful in the diagnosis of current or reactivated VZV infection/illness. (Please refer for molecular investigations.)

Rubella Immunity/Serology

Send a blood sample stating whether this is for a routine screening for immunity or a test for active infection to Rubella.

Immunity screening is performed on patients from medical and family planning clinic cases that have not been in contact with Rubella.

In patients, particularly pregnant women, where contact with Rubella or current Rubella infection is being investigated, Rubella specific IgM and IgG tests are performed.

Clotted blood should be sent to aid in the diagnosis of Rubella in a contact case.

It is essential that L.M.P. details, exact dates of known contacts, onset date, and clinical details of suspect illness be supplied.

A second blood sample may be requested for comparison.

Parvovirus Immunity/Serology

Send a blood sample stating whether the test is for a routine screen for immunity (IgG) or a test for active infection to Parvovirus (IgM and IgG). Include all relevant clinical details. For pregnant women who are not immune on initial testing will require a further sample 4 weeks after exposure.

Hepatitis A Virus Serology

Send a clotted sample of blood (tube details indicated below), stating whether this is a routine test for immunity status (total antibody, performed twice weekly) or a test for active hepatic disease (IgM antibody, performed daily). Please include all relevant clinical details.