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Molecular Detection by PCR

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Reference Details


Molecular detection of Ehrlichia chaffeensis in clinical specimens.

Test Category:
Molecular Detection
Ehrlichia chaffeensis
Illnesses and Diseases:
  • Ehrlichiosis

Whole blood, buffy coat, or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from patients whose clinical condition suggests meningitis. Minimum volume of blood or CSF required is 1.0 mL.

Collection Method:

Collect blood in EDTA tubes. AVOID HEPARIN. Collect CSF into sterile container without additives.

Specimen Processing, Storage and Shipping:

Blood and buffy coat– Keep refrigerated up to 5 days and ship with freezer packs. 

CSF   – Keep frozen at -20°C and ship on dry ice.

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.

For additional guidance on the transport of infectious substances in other languages, please click on the link below.


Patient Criteria:

Appropriate clinical symptoms with known exposure to Amblyomma americanum (Lone Star) tick in Canada OR travel to eastern, southeastern or south-central United States. The symptoms of infection with Ehrlichia chaffeensis usually develop 1-2 weeks after being bitten by an infected tick. Symptoms may include fever, headache, chills, malaise, myalgia, nausea / vomiting / diarrhea, confusion, conjunctival injection and rash.

Accompanying Documentation:

Completed Requisition for Molecular Testing for Selected Zoonotic Agents. If possible, include the clinical history and lab results performed at local or provincial laboratories.


Specimens may be subject to rejection if they are not the appropriate sample type, have insufficient volume, or are not accompanied by relevant patient information and travel history.



Methods and Interpretation of Results:

Extracted DNA is screened by a real-time assay specific for E. chaffeensis. If positive by real-time PCR, samples are tested by conventional PCR and sequencing to confirm the presence of E. chaffeensis genome.

Initiation of antibiotic treatment prior to testing may result in decreased bacterial genome which will affect the outcome of PCR testing.

Turnaround Time:

21 calendar days.

Phone #: (204) 789-7434 or (204) 789-7662
Fax: (204) 789-2082
  1. Loftis, A., D., Massung, R. F., Levin, M., L. 2003. Quantitative real-time PCR assay for detection of Ehrlichia chaffeensis. J. Clin. Microbiol. 41(8):3870-3872.
  2. Standaert, S.M., Yu, T., Scott, M.A., et al. 2000. Primary Isolation of Ehrlichia chaffeensis from patients with febrile illnesses: Clinical and molecular characteristics. J. Inf. Dis. 181:1082-1088.
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