Virology, Immunology & Molecular (VIM) Microbiology

As virology continues to move towards molecular diagnostics, we have merged the molecular, immunology and virology sections into a combined Virology, Immunology and Molecular (VIM) Microbiology section. We offer a wide range of diagnostic services, including comprehensive testing for Viral Serology, Bacterial Serology and Parasite Serology and a continuously expanding menu of molecular diagnostics. Additional parasitology and mycology serology testing is typically referred out.

Our volume of testing is considerable since we are the primary testing site for much of the virology in the Province. In 2014 we processed approximately 217,700 specimens.

For exotic or unusual pathogens, specimens are referred to a Canadian wide network of reference centers sponsored by the National Microbiology Laboratory (NML).

Molecular Assays


Recent changes


Respiratory Viruses:

Testing is now targeted to patients being admitted to hospital or those associated with outbreaks in long term care or acute care facilities. The type of test used will depend on the time of year the specimen is collected.

  • Influenza A / Influenza B / RSV
  • Multiplex Respiratory Viruses

Sexually Transmitted Infections:

  • HSV, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea
  • HPV - This test is not performed in house and only available to physicians in the colposcopy clinic.

Diarrheal Pathogens:

Testing for viruses that cause diarrhea  are suggested for, in-patients admitted with diarrhea, patients associated with outbreaks in long-term care or other closed facilities and public health intrest in clusters of cases.

  • Norovirus
  • Adenovirus
  •  Rotavirus
Changes in Varicella Zoster Virus and Adenovirus Testing 2014/07/14  


  • HSV1,2
  • Enterovirus

Patients with suspected arboviral infections such as West Nile Virus should have serology prior to considering molecular testing in the CSF. Arboviral serology is referred to laboratories outside the province.


Blood Borne Pathogens:

  • HIV quantitative PCR (viral load) - This assay is restricted to infectious diseases physicians and is used for monitoring HIV patients on and off therapy.
  • HCV quantitative PCR (viral load) - This assay is used for treatment decisions in patients with HCV.
  • Hepatitis C Genotyping - This assay is used to classify the type of HCV for treatment considerations.
  • CMV quantitative PCR (viral load) - This assay is used to monitor for the development of CMV .
Changes in Hepatitis C Confirmatory Testing 2014/05/13Changes in CMV Viral Load Testing & Interpretation Cutoffs 2013/12/09Specimen Collection Requirements for Hepatitis B Virus Viral Loads

Other Testing:

  • Varicella Zoster Virus
  • Measles
  • Mumps
Changes in Varicella Zoster Virus and Adenovirus Testing 2014/07/14  

Bacterial Pathogens:

  • 16sPCR - used to identify bacteria in a specimen when the bacteria are non-viable. This may be due to previous treatment with antibiotics, or an organism that cannot be cultured using conventional means. This is only useful in specimens that should be sterile.

Emerging Pathogens:

Consult a Microbiologist or Infectious Disease Specialist

  •  MERS-CoV
  • H7N9
  • Ebola