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Molecular Detection by PCR From Clinical Material

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Molecular detection of Chlamydia psittaci PCR.


Test Category:
Molecular Detection
Chlamydia psittaci
Illnesses and Diseases:
  • Respiratory psittacosis

Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), nasopharyngeal aspirate (NPA), or throat swab. Sputum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples may also be tested but are not ideal. Please note that pure culture specimens WILL NOT be accepted, as these specimens are categorized and handled as CL3 organisms. Serum and dry swabs will also not be accepted for testing; any swabs sent must be supplied in appropriate storage medium.  At least 1.0 mL of fluid sample is required for testing, and it is preferable if all samples are supplied in screw-capped tubes made of freeze-thaw and shatter-resistant plastic.


Collection Method:

Please follow standard aseptic sampling methods for collecting specimens and ensure any tissue samples/swabs are in appropriate storage medium.

Specimen Processing, Storage and Shipping:

No further processing at the sending lab is required once specimens are collected according to the above instructions.  It is preferable that all specimens be frozen after collection.  If that’s not possible, then store it at refrigeration temperature (2 – 8°C).   Ensure that specimens are held at the appropriate temperature when shipped to the NML (e.g. frozen specimens shipped with dry ice, refrigerated specimens with cold packs).

Transportation of Dangerous Goods:

Shipping of specimens shall be done by a TDG certified individual in accordance with TDG regulations. For additional information regarding classification of specimens for the purposes of shipping, consult either Part 2 Appendix 3 of the TDG Regulations or section 3.6.2 of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations as applicable.

Patient Criteria:

Patient must have had contact with a bird and present with C. psittaci or “psittacosis” symptoms.  Samples from MALT lymphoma patients will also be accepted.

Accompanying Documentation:

Completed Special Bacteriology requisition form (most recent version of requisition is required), detailing all patient information and relevant clinical information.  If possible, attach lab results that have already been done at local or provincial laboratories.



All patient history must be included. Samples without adequate patient history and that fail to meet the testing criteria will be rejected.

Methods and Interpretation of Results:

DNA is extracted using a commercially-available kit and results are based upon a real-time PCR assay targeting the C. psittaci locus tag CPSIT_RS1985.  Positive samples are confirmed using conventional PCR targeting the 23S rRNA gene of the Chlamydiaceae family followed by sequence analysis.



Turnaround Time:

10 calendar days. Please note that during times when large numbers of samples are received or if tests must be repeated the turnaround time may be longer.

Phone #: (204) 789-2137
Fax: (204) 784-7509
  1. Peeling R. and Brunham R. 1996. Chlamydiae as Pathogens: New Species and New Issues. Emerg. Inf. Dis.; 2(4):307-319.
  2. Vanrompay D., Ducatelle R., Haesebrouck F. 1995. Chlamydia psittaci infections: A review with emphasis on avian chlamydiosis. Vet. Micro.;45:93-119.
  3. Wolff, B. J., Morrison, S. S., & Winchell, J. M. 2018. Development of a multiplex TaqMan real-time PCR assay for the detection of Chlamydia psittaci and Chlamydia pneumoniae in human clinical specimens. Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease, 90(3), 167-170.
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