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Test Identifier Information

Registration CodeCNSP

CSF samples are tested by PCR for Herpes simplex virus, Varicella zoster virus, Enteroviruses, Parechovirus and Neisseria meningitidis

External Price$207.60(Exclusive of GST)

Specimen Collection

Pre-Testing Requirements

 Please provide relevant clinical and laboratory information, cell counts,

biochemistry etc. This enables the laboratory to ascertain appropriate testing

strategies and provide additional consultation if required.

Specimen Collection Protocols

 It is preferable to have an unopened sterile CSF sent for PCR testing.

If aliquoting is necessary perform in a Class II Biohazard cabinet. If the cabinet is used for routine specimens before proceeding wipe cabinet out with precept (or similar) disinfectant and turn UV light on for at least 10 minutes to destroy any contaminating DNA that may be present.Wear gloves at all times and avoid touching the inside of the lid of the microcentrifuge/nunc tubes. Separate samples, using the disposable sterile plastic pipette.


Adults - least 0.5mL of sample is preferred however minimum sample volume is 400μL of CSF depending on the test required.


Patient SpecimenCerebrospinal Fluid
Paediatric SpecimenAt least 0.25mL CSF required

Instructions for Referral to CHLabs

Aliquot InstructionsSee specimen collection protocol.
Aliquot Transport to CHLStore sample at 4C until transportation to the laboratory. Send sample at 4C

CHLabs Laboratory

Contact Details** Unknown email address **
Contact Phone Number03-3640416 / ext. 80416
Test AvailabilityBatched Mon - Fri, 09.00 - urgent testing by arrangement.
Turnaround Time24 hours Mon - Fri, urgent testing by arrangement
Additional Information


DNA detection by PCR provides a rapid and definitive diagnosis for the presence of HSV nucleic acid in CSF.
HSV types one and two are common human pathogens. Aseptic meningitis is usually caused by HSV2. HSV Encephalitis (HSVE) is usually caused by HSV1 in adults and HSV2 in neonates. HSVE is a serious infection that requires prompt diagnosis and treatment.
The detection of Herpes simplex virus DNA requires confirmation that differentiates between types one and two. Please see link to Herpes simplex virus - CSF confirmation and subtyping.
PCR results should always be interpreted in conjunction with clinical history or symptomatology.
Occasionally an HSV PCR will be negative early in the course of HSV encephalitis. If PCR is negative when the clinical suspicion is high, the PCR should be repeated on a different CSF sample collected 1-2 days later. If both samples are PCR negative, HSV encephalitis is unlikely.
A short period of Acyclovir therapy (up to 5 days) appears to have little effect on PCR sensitivity.
Enterovirus RT-PCR
This assay is used for the detection of Enteroviral RNA in CSF from patients with aseptic meningitis. This assay is known to detect Polioviruses, Coxsackie A and B viruses,  Echoviruses and Enterovirus 68-70. It therefore detects those enteroviruses that most commonly cause enteroviral meningitis.  Subtyping is not routinely available by PCR
Parechovirus RT-PCR
Parechoviruses are in the same family of viruses as enteroviruses and can also cause meningitis. A separate PCR is required to detect them.
Neisseris meningitidis PCR
This PCR is useful for the diagnosis of meningococcal meningitis.PCR will allow the confirmation of the etiological agent when preceding antimicrobial therapy has inhibited growth. Confirmation of diagnosis is extremely important not only in the treatment of the patient but also in the management of contact tracing. Neisseria meningitidis is a notifiable infectious disease and should be reported to the Medical Officer of Health.
Please contact Virology (03) 364 0354 (x80354) or (03) 3640356 (x80356) if consultation with a Clinical Microbiologist or Microbiology Registrar is required.

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