Dengue Virus

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.

Specimen Collection and Handling

Specimen Requirements

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

Dengue Virus serology or PCR

Blood, serum or plasma

5 ml blood or 1 ml serum

Serum separator tubes (SST)

EDTA Blood

Dengue Virus PCR


400 UL

Sterile container

Submission and Collection Notes


Effective October 3, 2022, the Arbovirus (Non-Zika) Testing Intake Form  is a mandatory requirement for dengue virus testing. PHO’s laboratory utilizes the information on the requisition and the mandatory intake form to assess testing criteria, assign appropriate tests, and provide mandatory information required by the National Microbiology Laboratory for relevant testing performed there.


Pregnancy status, travel history to endemic areas (including dates of departure and return) AND date of collection of samples within 14 days of symptom onset date should be clearly indicated on the requisition.


Testing of CSF must be pre-approved by PHO microbiologist. Please contact PHO Laboratory Customer Service Centre at 416-235-6556 or 1-877-604-4567 before submission.

Timing of Specimen Collection

Clotted blood/serum should be collected as soon as possible after symptom onset, but no later than 14 days following onset of illness for PCR testing.


Hemolysed, icteric, lipemic or microbial contaminated sera or plasma are not recommended for testing.

Storage and Transport

  • For serum separator tubes: centrifuge specimens prior to placing in biohazard bag.
  • Place each specimen type in an individual biohazard bag and seal. Insert the corresponding requisition in the pocket on the outside of each sealed biohazard bag.
  • Clotted blood/serum should be stored at 2-8°C following collection and shipped to PHO’s laboratory on ice packs.

For any other specimens submitted for molecular testing, specimens may be stored at 2-8°C following collection and shipped to PHO’s laboratory on ice packs, but should be frozen (at -80°C) and shipped on dry ice if delivery to PHO’s laboratory will take more than 72 hours.

Special Instructions

All specimens submitted for testing must be accompanied by a separate General Test Requisition for each specimen type collected. All fields on each requisition must be completed.

It is also MANDATORY to provide all information requested on the Arbovirus (Non-Zika) Information Intake Form. The Arbovirus (Non-Zika) Information Intake Form may be exempted if all mandatory information is available on the PHO’s General Test Requisition. Specimens submitted with missing mandatory information will not be tested until that information is provided.

Requisitions and Kit Ordering

Test Frequency and Turnaround Time (TAT)

Molecular testing turnaround time (TAT) is up to 5 days for PHO’s laboratory test results; 10 days for National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) results. TAT may be longer if supplementary testing is required.

Serology testing TAT is up to 8 days from the receipt at PHO’s laboratory.

Test Methods

Molecular testing is conducted using a laboratory developed real-time polymerase chain reaction (rt-PCR) panel which simultaneously tests for Zika, chikungunya and dengue virus targets. All four serogroups of dengue virus (1-4) can be detected but are not distinguished by the assay. Specimens submitted for testing of any of the three virus targets will be tested using the Arbovirus panel and all three virus results will be reported.

The Dengue IgM & IgG test is performed using an ELISA (Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay) commercial test kit.


Dengue virus infection is laboratory-confirmed by a Detected result for Dengue virus by RT-PCR

The Anti-Dengue Virus ELISA (IgM and IgG) is suitable for the serological detection of an acute or a past dengue virus infection and supplements direct pathogen detection. Seroconversion in the IgM or IgG antibodies indicates an acute infection. Reactive serology results may also occur following dengue vaccination.

A non-reactive serological or Not Detected molecular result does not rule out Dengue virus infection.


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

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Updated 3 Oct 2022