Paired sera are not now usually required, however we need to know enough clinical details to decide which viruses to screen for, and a date of onset to decide whether collection of a second serum is appropriate.

Only a limited range of viruses can be tested for, and often serology is unhelpful.

Viral serology is helpful when a specific virus is suspected (eg rubella, CMV), or with particular clinical scenario’s such as rash, flu-like illness, and  respiratory tract infections.

Patients with vague or long-standing problems (“lassitude” etc) almost never produce diagnostic results.

In an attempt to guide you to request the correct serology tests  when requesting using ICE , use the Microbiology tab and under Virology tests, there are clinical symptoms boxes present, so if the patient has jaundice,  tick the jaundice section and all the relevant laboratory tests will be selected for you.

Blood samples can also be sent to Virology for Immunity status checking, e.g after routine vaccinations for Hepatitis B and as part of the antenatal screening for infectious disease or when a pregnant lady has been in contact with Varicella zoster ( VZV or chickenpox).

Please see the  SOP-MC-VIR-D-46- List of Serology tests for details of the specific blood tubes required for specific tests. Please supply as much clinical information as possible to allow us to perform the correct tests, to interpret the result correctly and to add appropriate comments.

Please be aware that if serology/virology tests are requested a separate sample should be sent to Virology, the request should not be added onto a blood sample already sent to Blood Sciences except in exceptional circumstances e.g a difficult to bleed patient, due to potential contamination from the biochemistry analysers. In these instances please ring the virology laboratory to discuss.