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Enterovirus Group Blood Test

Last updated Feb. 1, 2016


What are other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • Enterovirus Ab Blood Test
  • Enterovirus Antibody Blood Test

What is the Enterovirus Group Blood Test? (Background Information)

  • Enteroviruses are viruses that occur in the digestive tract. The digestive tract includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestines
  • Common enteroviruses include poliovirus, noroviruses, hepatitis A, Coxsackie A and B, and echovirus
    • Poliovirus is the most serious of the enteroviruses. Although vaccination has eliminated poliovirus from the Western hemisphere, it is still found in some parts of Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and few other countries
    • Noroviruses are responsible for many cases of mild food poisoning
    • Hepatitis A is transmitted through food or water contaminated with infected fecal matter. As with other enteroviruses, it inhabits the gut and causes intestinal disease
  • When the immune system encounters an invader, it rapidly produces defense proteins (antibodies) that target the invader. These antibodies recognize specific components (antigens) of that invader; such as proteins, cellular membrane lipids, etc.
  • Thus, the presence of an antibody specific to an enterovirus implies that the body has been infected by that virus either in the past, or currently, the body is experiencing an infection
  • There are several types of antibodies. The 2 most clinically important antibodies are called IgM and IgG
    • IgM is produced within days of an infection as part of the primary immune response. Elevated levels of IgM indicates a ‘new’ infection
    • IgG is produced several weeks after infection as part of the secondary immune response. Elevated levels of IgG indicate a chronic or past infection
  • The Enterovirus Group Blood Test detects antibodies (IgM or IgG) specific to enteroviruses. It aids in the diagnosis of an infection by an enterovirus
  • The test is performed by making dilutions of a blood sample; for example, 2-fold, 4-fold, 8-fold, and so on, and mixing each diluted sample with enterovirus antigens
  • Subsequent steps allow for the visualization of possible interactions between the antibodies and antigen through a reaction (such as through emission of light, color change, etc.). The highest dilution in which a reaction takes place is called the titer

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Enterovirus Group Blood Test?

Following are the clinical indications for performing the Enterovirus Group Blood Test:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sore throat

How is the Specimen Collected for the Enterovirus Group Blood Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Enterovirus Group Blood Test:

Sample required: Blood

Process of obtaining blood sample in adults:

  • A band is wrapped around the arm, 3-4 inches above the collection site (superficial vein that lies within the elbow pit)
  • The site is cleaned with 70% alcohol in an outward spiral, away from the zone of needle insertion
  • The needle cap is removed and is held in line with the vein, pulling the skin tight
  • With a small and quick thrust, the vein is penetrated using the needle
  • The required amount of blood sample is collected by pulling the plunger of the syringe out slowly
  • The wrap band is removed, gauze is placed on the collection site, and the needle is removed
  • The blood is immediately transferred into the blood container, which has the appropriate preservative/clot activator/anti-coagulant
  • The syringe and the needle are disposed into the appropriate “sharp container” for safe and hygienic disposal

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test.

What is the Significance of the Enterovirus Group Blood Test Result?

A positive value for the Enterovirus Group Blood Test is associated with a reaction taking place with a blood sample that has been diluted more than 4 times (i.e., a titer above 1:4). This may indicate: 

  • Poliovirus infection or poliomyelitis (polio)
  • Norovirus infection
  • Hepatitis A infection
  • Coxsackie A or B virus infection
  • Echovirus infection

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

  • The Enterovirus Group Blood Test is performed using samples taken when the individual was actively undergoing infection (acute phase) and when he/she has recovered from the infection (convalescent phase)
  • In the US, noroviruses are responsible for most cases of mild food poisoning. Each year, of the 13 million cases of food poisoning, 9 million are caused by noroviruses

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider of the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

The following DoveMed website links are useful resources for additional information:

http://www.dovemed.com/poliomyelitis/

http://www.dovemed.com/diseases-conditions/echo-virus-infection/

Please visit our Laboratory Procedures Center for more physician-approved health information:

http://www.dovemed.com/common-procedures/procedures-laboratory/

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Kee, J. L. (2010). Laboratory and diagnostic tests with nursing implications (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Madigan, M. T. (2012). Brock biology of microorganisms (13th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Benjamin Cummings.

Martini, F., Nath, J. L., & Bartholomew, E. F. (2012). Fundamentals of anatomy & physiology (9th ed.). San Francisco: Benjamin Cummings.

Williamson, M. A., Snyder, L. M., & Wallach, J. B. (2011). Wallach's interpretation of diagnostic tests (9th ed.). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Feb. 1, 2016
Last updated: Feb. 1, 2016