Specimen Collection and Handling

Specimen Requirements

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


Crust fluid or material


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


Swab of lesion

1 swab in transport media provided in kit

Virus Culture Collection Kit order# 390081

Submission and Collection Notes


If you suspect a case of Smallpox or non poxvirus - Consult with the Medical Microbiologist at Public Health Ontario Laboratory and your local Public Health Unit.


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


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


Sample submitted on a glass slide is 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.

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 ASAP, where possible.

Requisitions and Kit Ordering

Test Frequency and Turnaround Time (TAT)

Poxvirus testing is no longer 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). For further information see general link to NML’s Guide to Services.


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

Test Methods

Not available.

Mis à jour le 20 juill. 2020