Enzyme Linked Immunosorbant Assay (ELISA) - IgM

<<Return to Laboratory

Accredited by the Standards Council of Canada to Laboratory no. 594 (ISO/IEC 17025)

Requisition Forms

Reference Details


Detection of IgM antibodies to the measles virus by enzyme linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA).

Test Category:
Measles virus
Illnesses and Diseases:
  • Measles
  • Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE)

Serum or plasma (100 µL minimum) collected within 3 - 28 days of rash onset.

Collection Method:

Collect blood in serum separator tubes (SST) or EDTA tubes.

Specimen Processing, Storage and Shipping:

Follow standard laboratory techniques to prepare serum or plasma. Store at 4°C and ship at room temperature or on wet ice for arrival at the NML within 3 days of collection. Otherwise, freeze (-20°C or below) and ship frozen 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:

Suspected cases of measles. Refer to reference 3 for case definitions.


Accompanying Documentation:

Completed Measles, Mumps, and Rubella requisition form.  Include date of rash onset, date of last measles vaccination (if recent), travel history and/or MARS identifier (from the Measles and Rubella Surveillance application on CNPHI) or case number as available.



Please contact the lab in advance of sending samples. The NML is a WHO/PAHO accredited Measles and Rubella Regional Reference Laboratory. In order to assist in case classification, the NML might also perform measles IgG or measles IgG avidity ELISA.


Methods and Interpretation of Results:

Testing is done using the Siemens Enzygnost Anti-Measles Virus/IgM or the IBL International Measles virus IgM micro-capture commercial ELISA assay (1). A positive IgM result is indicative of an acute measles infection when rash was present and there is a history of exposure to measles through travel to an endemic area or an epidemiological link to a confirmed case. Refer to the Laboratory Guidelines for the Diagnosis of Measles in reference 3 for further information.

Turnaround Time:

21 calendar days. Turnaround time can be as short as 3 calendar days, with proper notification.


Phone: (204) 789-6024 or (204) 789-7055
Fax: (204) 318-2222
  1. Tipples GA, R Hamkar, T Mohktari-Azad, M Gray, G Parkyn, C Head and S Ratnam. Assessment of immunoglobulin M enzyme immunoassays for diagnosis of measles. J Clin Microbiol 2003 Oct; 41 (10):4790-2.
  2. Ratnam S, G Tipples, C Head, M Fauvel, M Fearon, BJ Ward. Performance of indirect immunoglobulin M (IgM) serology tests and IgM capture assays for laboratory diagnosis or measles. J Clin Microbiol. 2000 Jan; 38 (1):00-104.       
  3. Measles and Rubella Elimination Working Group, Health Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada. Guidelines for the prevention and control of measles outbreaks in Canada. CCDR. 2013; 39:ACS-3. Available at http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/ccdr-rmtc/13vol39/acs-dcc-3/index-eng.php#appa.
  4. World Health Organization. Manual for the laboratory diagnosis of measles and rubella virus infection. Third edition. 2018. Available at https://www.who.int/immunization/monitoring_surveillance/burden/laboratory/manual/en/
  5. Tipples G, J Hiebert. Detection of measles, mumps and rubella viruses. Methods Mol Biol. 2011; 665: 183-193.