HTLV I and II – Serology

Specimen Collection and Handling

Specimen Requirements

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

HTLV l/ll


1.0 ml

Blood, clotted - vacutainer tubes (SST)

HTLV l/ll


3.0 ml

Blood, clotted - vacutainer tubes (SST)

Submission and Collection Notes


Do not submit glass tubes.


Two FULL serum separator tubes (SST) are sufficient for testing all Hepatitis markers, HIV, HTLV, Syphilis and Rubella if ordered together.


Instructions for using SST tubes can be found here: LAB-SD-008, Blood Collection Using Serum Separator Tubes.


Haemolysed, icteric, lipemic or microbially contaminated sera are not recommended for testing.

Storage and 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

Centrifuge if using SST. 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 ASAP.

Specimens may be stored on or off the clot or red blood cells for up to 3 days at 15-30°C or 7 days if refrigerated at 2-8°C. If testing will be delayed more than the recommended storage time, remove serum from the clot and store frozen at -20°C or colder.

Requisitions and Kit Ordering

Test Frequency and Turnaround Time (TAT)

HTLV l and ll screening is performed daily Monday to Friday.

HTLV I and II confirmatory testing is performed every two weeks.
Turnaround time is up to 5 days for negative results, and up to 14 days from receipt by PHO Laboratory for positive results.

Test Methods

Specimens for HTLV l/ll are screened using a chemiluminescent microparticle immunoassay (CMIA) for the qualitative detection of HTLV l and HTLV ll antibodies in human serum. Reactive results are confirmed using a Line Immunoassay (LIA).


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

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Updated 13 May 2021