Molecular Detection of Variola virus

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Requisition Forms

Reference Details


PCR amplification of Variola virus specific genome.

Test Category:
Molecular Detection
Variola virus
Illnesses and Diseases:
  • Smallpox

Whole blood, lesion fluid, crust material.

Collection Method:

Collect whole blood in EDTA tubes, other samples in sterile 1.5-5.0 mL tubes.

Specimen Processing, Storage and Shipping:

Store samples in refrigerator or frozen until being shipped for testing.  Ship frozen specimens on dry ice and refrigerated specimens on wet ice. Avoid freezing whole blood samples.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods:

Store samples in refrigerator or frozen until being shipped for testing. Ship frozen specimens on dry ice and refrigerated samples on wet ice. Shipping of samples suspected of containing Risk Group 4 pathogens shall be done by a TDG certified individual in accordance with TDG regulations. If applicable, initiate an Emergency Response Assistance Plan (ERAP) notification 24 hours prior to shipping. To initiate an ERAP notification, please click the link below to access the transport flow chart for Risk Group 4 pathogens or call 1-866-262-8433 (available 24/7) for assistance.

Transport Flowchart for Risk Group 4 Pathogens


Patient Criteria:

Patient must be symptomatic with characteristic smallpox papules.

Accompanying Documentation:

Completed Special Pathogens requisition including sender name, address and telephone number. Patient information including name or identifier, date of birth, and all relevant patient history including clinical diagnosis, underlying diseases, exposure risk and travel history. Indicate type of specimen collected and all specimen information. Select all required tests. If possible, attach lab results that have already been done at local or provincial laboratories.


Variola virus is extinct in nature and an active case would be highly unusual. Contact Special Pathogens prior to submission of sample to ensure appropriate shipping documentation is generated. Generation of request will require activation of Canadian Smallpox Contingency Plan.

Methods and Interpretation of Results:

For diagnosis of Variola virus infection to be confirmed, one or more of the following diagnostic markers must be positive: (i) Variola virus DNA by PCR, and (ii) isolation of Variola virus.

Turnaround Time:

2 calendar days.

Phone: (204) 789-6019 or (204) 789-7032
Fax: (204) 789-2140