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Measles Serology

Alias: Rubeola

Discipline: Virology

Test information: Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and sometimes lead to serious complications. It's now uncommon in the UK because of the effectiveness of vaccination. Local Measles serology is performed as part of an occupational screen where MMR vaccination status is uncertain. It may also be used to assess the susceptibility of contacts of suspected or proven cases of measles.

For suspected case of measles contact the UKHSA South West Centre Health Protection Team for a Saliva (oral fluid) testing kit. Testing acute and convalescent phase paired sera for the presence of IgM and IgG is available at Severn Pathology North Bristol NHS Trust. This should only be used to support the diagnosis of recent infection.

Availability: Available locally Monday - Friday during routine hours: 08:45 - 17:15.
Referred to Severn Pathology North Bristol NHS Trust: Monday - Friday during routine hours: 08:45 - 17:15.

Turnaround Time: Locally 3 Days
Up to 3 Days upon receipt at Severn Pathology North Bristol NHS Trust.

Specimen Type(s)
  • Clotted blood;
Other Acceptable Specimen Type(s)
Specimen Container - Adult
  • Gold Top SST BD;
Specimen Container - Paediatric
  • Plain Top Sarstedt;
  • Measles (rubeola) antibodies;
Part of a test profile?
Volume (min) of sample to be sent to laboratory
5 - 10mL
Patient Preparation, Sample Handling and Transport
  • Minimum-clotting time 30 minutes.
  • Specimens should be transported to the laboratory as soon as possible.
  • Outside of normal hours samples should be refrigerated (2 °C to 8 °C).
  • Testing for measles immunity pre-vaccination is not recommended.
  • Please state date of contact with measles if this is an investigation of rash in pregnancy.
Maximum add on time
Units and Reference Ranges / Interpretation
Results: Negative / Equivocal / Positive
Presence of anti-measles IgG antibodies indicates prior exposure to the virus but does not exclude the possibility of an ongoing infection.

UKAS number
UKAS accredited test?
Interference may be encountered with certain sera containing antibodies directed against reagent components.

If you have any queries about a test or results interpretation please contact us.

Last updated: 03-06-2023