Herpes B Virus – Reference – PCR

Testing Indications

Infection with Herpes B virus is extremely rare in humans; however, when it does occur, the infection can result in severe neurologic impairment or fatal encephalomyelitis if the patient was not treated soon after exposure.

Collection of a specimen for serology is also recommended for acute diagnosis. Refer to Test Information Sheet: Herpes B Virus – Reference – Serology for specimen collection and testing information. 

Contact Public Heath Ontario laboratory prior to specimen collection for Herpes B Virus testing.

Specimen Collection and Handling

Specimen Requirements

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

Herpes B Virus PCR1,4

Swab of infected area

1 swab in media provided in transport kit

Virus Culture Kit: order# 390081

Herpes B Virus PCR1,4

Biopsy or nerve tissue at necropsy3

3.0 mm

Sterile container

Herpes B Virus PCR1,4

Whole blood

2.0 ml

Red top clotted

Herpes B Virus PCR1,4


3.0 ml

Sterile container

Submission and Collection Notes


Herpes B Virus testing specimens are referred to Georgia State University (GSU) Diagnostic Laboratory. Refer to link for FAQ’s and cost of testing.


In addition to the General Test Requisition form, complete all fields of the The National B Resource Centre Requisition Form.


For collection of nerve tissue at necropsy the right and left trigeminal ganglia or the sacral dorsal root ganglia should be submitted.


Specimens are accepted on both the patient as well as the non-human primate.


CSF should not be bloody; do not centrifuge

Preparation Prior to Transport

Label the specimen 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.

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

Requisitions and Kit Ordering

Test Frequency and Turnaround Time (TAT)

The Herpes B Virus specimen testing Turn Around Time is 14 days from receipt by PHO laboratory.


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

Specimens that are positive for Herpes B Virus are reported to the Medical Officer of Health as per the Health Protection and Promotion Act. 

Test Methods

Specimens are tested using a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) to detect Herpes B Virus. PCR positive specimens may also be set up for virus culture.

Sensitivity and Specificity and other information about these tests are posted on the GSU website.

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Updated 20 July 2020