Tetanus – Serology

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

Testing for Tetanus is not done for immunity/acute diagnosis/pre-vaccination screening and is only available only for the rare event of an adverse reaction to Tetanus vaccine or the possibility of humoral immunodeficiency in the patient.  This must be indicated on the test requisition in order for testing to be performed.

Specimen Collection and Handling

Specimen Requirements

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


Whole blood or Serum

5.0 ml blood or 1.0 ml or serum

Blood, clotted - vacutainer tubes (SST)

Submission and Collection Notes


Indicate on the General Test Requisition Form if testing is required due adverse reaction to Tetanus vaccine, or humoral immunodeficiency in the patient.  This must be indicated on the test requisition in order for testing to be performed.


Serum samples should not be heat-inactivated, as this may give false positive results.


The results may be used to aid diagnosis of immunodeficiency. Results must be confirmed by clinical findings and other serological tests.

The results obtained from this assay are not diagnostic proof of protection/immunity against Tetanus or the presence/absence of immunodeficiency.

Haemolysed, icteric, lipemic or microbially contaminated sera or plasma are not appropriate for testing and will be rejected.

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. Serum should be stored at 2-8°C for up to 48 hours prior to assay or kept at -20°C or below for prolonged storage and shipped on ice packs. Repeated thawing and freezing of serum should be avoided.

Requisitions and Kit Ordering

Test Frequency and Turnaround Time (TAT)

Tetanus serology test is performed once per month.

Turnaround time is up to 28 days from receipt by PHO laboratory.

Test Methods

Tetanus serology testing for Anti-Tetanus Toxoid IgG is by the Enzyme Immunoassay (EIA) method


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

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Updated 16 Aug 2022