Molluscum contagiosum virus detection

Consistent with O. Reg. 671/92 of the French Language Services Act, laboratory testing information on this page is only available in English because it is scientific or technical in nature and is for use only by qualified health care providers and not by members of the public.

Testing Indications

Molluscum contagiosum testing is no longer available at PHO Laboratory.

Samples requesting molluscum contagiosum will be forwarded to the National Microbiology Laboratory (NML), Winnipeg. Samples will be tested by polymerase chain reaction (PCR)

For further information see this link.

Submitters may contact NML directly at 204-789-6019 (Special Pathogens) to arrange testing.

Specimen Collection and Handling

Specimen Requirements

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


Crust fluid or material


Sterile tube/container


Virus Culture Collection kit

order #390081


Swab of lesion

One swab in transport media provided in kit

Virus Culture kit order #390081


Fresh frozen tissues or formalin fixed/paraffin embedded tissues

0.5 ml

Sterile plastic containers. Clearly indicate on container is sample is formalin fixed.

Submission and Collection Notes


If you suspect a case of Smallpox or non Molluscum Cotagiosum/Poxvirus - Consult immediately with the Medical Microbiologist at Public Health Ontario Laboratory and your local Public Health Unit.


Sample can be collected as a dry swab or added to a minimum volume of viral transport media, avoid excessive dilution of the sample.


Sample submitted on a glass slide is not suitable for testing.

Storage and Transport

Label the specimen 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.

Place the specimen container in the biohazard bag and seal the bag; insert the completed requisition in the pocket on the outside of the sealed biohazard bag. To maintain optimal viability of the virus, specimens should be stored at 2-8°C following collection and transported to PHO on ice packs within 72 hours of collection. If longer storage/transit time is anticipated, specimens should be frozen at -70°C or lower and transported on dry ice. Fresh Biopsies should be transported on dry ice.

Special Instructions

Complete all fields of the PHO General Test Requisition Form: include the requesting healthcare provider's CPSO#, complete mailing address, telephone, and fax number, and the patient’s full name, date of birth, Health Card Number (must match the specimen label). Failure to do so may result in rejection or testing delay.

Requisitions and Kit Ordering

Test Frequency and Turnaround Time (TAT)

Turnaround time is approximately 14 days from receipt at NML. 

For further information see this link.

Submitters may contact NML directly at 204-789-6019 (Special Pathogens) to arrange testing.

Test Methods

For laboratory diagnosis of infection, Molluscum contagiosum DNA must be detected by PCR. Refer to this link.


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

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Laboratory Services

Updated 20 July 2020