Streptococcus pneumoniae – RT-PCR

Consistent with O. Reg. 671/92 of the French Language Services Act, laboratory testing information on this page is only available in English because it is scientific or technical in nature and is for use only by qualified health care providers and not by members of the public.

Testing Indications

Contact Public Health Ontario laboratory prior to submitting sample types other than those listed below to obtain PHO Medical/Clinical Microbiologist approval.

Specimen Collection and Handling

Specimen Requirements

Test Requested Required Requisition(s) Specimen Type Minimum Volume Collection Kit

S. pneumoniae PCR


300 μl

Sterile container

S. pneumoniae PCR

Respiratory Tissue sample

1-2 grams

Sterile container

S. pneumoniae PCR

Sterlie site specimens (eg. pleural fluid)

300 μl

Sterile container

Storage and Transport

Label the specimen container with the patient’s full name, date of collection and one other unique identifier such as the patient’s date of birth or Health Card Number. Failure to provide this information may result in rejection or testing delay.

Special Instructions

Place specimen in biohazard bag and seal. Specimens should be stored at 2-8°C following collection and shipped to PHOL on ice packs.

If transport of specimen to testing laboratory will be delayed more than 72 hours specimens should be frozen and shipped on dry ice.

Requisitions and Kit Ordering

Test Frequency and Turnaround Time (TAT)

The Streptococcus pneumoniae – CSF RT-PCR test is performed as needed Monday to Friday.  

Turnaround time is up to 3 days from receipt by PHO laboratory.

Test Methods

Streptococcus pneumoniae Specimen nucleic acids are tested using a Real-Time PCR assays.

Pneumolysin, encoded by the pneumolysin ply gene is one of the virulence factors expressed by all serotypes of S. pneumoniae.

Autolysin, encoded by the lytA gene, is required for S. pneumoniae pathogenesis and is a well-characterized virulence marker.

2-keto-3-deoxygluconate kinase-encoding (kdgk) gene is used to clarify discrepancies between the ply and lytA genes.


Results are reported to the ordering physician or health care provider as indicated on the requisition.

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Laboratory Services

Updated 21 Oct 2020