Diagnostic Test Directory

Virology Laboratory

Human Herpes Virus-6 (HHV-6) PCR (Qualitative) - respiratory specimen

  • LIS Mnemonic: HHV6PCR


    Nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs

    Volume Required


    Minimum Required



    Keep specimen at 4C




    Collection of COMBINED THROAT AND NASOPHARYNGEAL SWABS. For collection of nasopharyngeal swab specimen: 1. Insert swab into one nostril. 2. Press swab tip on the mucosal surface of the mid-inferior portion of the inferior turbinate, and rub the swab tip several times across the mucosal surface to loosen and collect cellular material. 3. Withdraw the swab; place swab into tube of Viral Transport Medium. For collection of oropharyngeal swab specimen: 1. Ask patient to open mouth widely and phonate an 'ah'. 2. Gently depress the tongue with a tongue blade. 3. Guide a swab over the tongue into the posterior oropharynx. 4. Using a gentle back-and-forth sweeping motion, swab the area behind the uvula and between the tonsillar pillars. 5. Withdraw the swab; place swab into the same tube of Viral Transport Medium that contains the nasoparyngeal swab. Immediately transport to the Clinical Virology Laboratory. Nasal aspirates or washings, tracheal aspirates, and bronchoalveolar lavage specimens may be submitted. Tracheal or transtracheal aspirates or bronchoalveolar lavage specimens are superior for the indication of lower respiratory tract infections.

    Unacceptable conditions

    Swab specimens not received in viral transport medium or received in bacteriological transport medium are discouraged. DO NOT USE CALCIUM ALGINATE OR WOODEN SHAFT SWABS FOR COLLECTION OF SPECIMENS; ONLY USE DACRON OR RAYON TIPPED SWABS ON PLASTIC OR METAL SHAFTS.

Days Performed



Same day

Reflex Testing





Amplification and detection of HHV-6 DNA U65-U66 gene region using TaqMan real-time PCR technology. The test is performed pursuant to an agreement with Roche Molecular Systems, Inc.


If positive, results are reported as human herpesvirus-6 DNA detected.

Reference Values

Negative or no human herpesvirus-6 DNA detected

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