Calicivirus (Norovirus, Sapovirus) – Enteric

Specimen Collection and Handling

Specimen Requirements

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

Norovirus, Calicivirus, or Sapovirus


1.0-2.0 grams

Virus - Enteric Kit order#: 390087

Submission and Collection Notes


Complete the following fields of the General Test Requisition Form if diagnostic testing is requested:

  • symptoms
  • onset date
  • outbreak number if applicable

Refer to the Virus-Enteric Kit Instruction Sheet for detailed specimen collection instructions.


If you suspect an outbreak, contact your local public health unit.

Timing of Specimen Collection

Samples should be collected within the first 48 hours after onset of symptoms.

Preparation Prior to 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 PHO laboratory on ice packs as soon as possible.

Requisitions and Kit Ordering

Test Frequency and Turnaround Time (TAT)

Norovirus PCR testing is performed on outbreak samples every Monday to Friday; the TAT is up to 3 days.

EM for enteric viruses is performed Monday to Friday; the TAT is up to 3 days.

TAT will vary during the winter months.


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

Specimens that are positive for Calicivirus (Norovirus or Sapovirus) from an  outbreak are reported to the Medical Officer of Health as per Health Protection and Promotion Act.

Test Methods

Up to 5 enteric outbreak specimens are screened for norovirus by PCR.

Further testing (electron microscopy (EM) or virus culture) will be performed on outbreak samples where no virus is detected by norovirus PCR. If Norovirus is detected from two different samples from the same outbreak, no further outbreak testing will be performed.

Enteric non-outbreak specimens are tested for norovirus by EM.

Norovirus does not grow in tissue culture.

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Laboratory Services

Updated 28 March 2019