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Molecular Detection of Yersinia pestis by real-time PCR

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

Requisition Forms

Reference Details


Molecular detection by real-time PCR of Yersinia pestis.

Test Category:
Molecular Detection
Yersinia pestis
Illnesses and Diseases:
  • Plague

Pure bacterial culture, whole blood – minimum 0.5 mL, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) – minimum 0.5 mL, biopsy tissue, powder.

Collection Method:

Pure bacterial culture – plate or swab; Whole blood – EDTA tube; Tissue or CSF – submit in a sterile collection tube; powder – submit in a sterile 2 mL o-ring microcentrifuge tube.

Specimen Processing, Storage and Shipping:

Store blood samples refrigerated until shipped for testing. Store tissue samples and CSF frozen until shipped for testing. Store bacterial cultures refrigerated until shipped for testing.

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 Yersinia pestis infection.

Accompanying Documentation:

Completed Bioforensics Assay Development and Diagnostics requisition including sender name, address and telephone number. Patient name or identifier (referring lab #), date of birth, suspected exposure, test(s) requested, clinical history. Type of specimen and date collected. If possible, include the antibiotics administered and travel history.



Methods and Interpretation of Results:

Real-time PCR is performed using in-house differentiating molecular assays for 3 targets specific to Yersinia pestis.

Confirmatory tests of a sample positive for Yersinia pestis by real-time PCR result may include direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) staining, bacteriophage lysis, Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs), and Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) bacterial identification.

 MALDI-TOF MS will be performed on all samples negative for Yersinia pestis by real-time PCR, as long as the sample provides bacterial growth by culture.


Turnaround Time:

4 calendar days for a preliminary result; 14 calendar days for a final result; 28 calendar days for any non-standard specimen type or specialized testing requests.

Phone #: (204) 784-5928 or 1-877-212-6108
Fax: (204) 789-5009
  1. Tracz, D.M., McCorrister, S.J., Westmacott, G.R., Corbett, C.R., 2012.  Effect of gamma radiation on the identification of bacterial pathogens by MALDI-TOF MS. J. Microbiol. Methods 92, 132-134.
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