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Herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) IgM and IgG Antibodies IFA

Test Code: 403918P

Cpt Code:

86790 (x2)

Clinical Utility

Human Herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) infects nearly all humans, typically before the age of two, and establishes life-long latency.  For most of the population, adults will demonstrate antibodies and declining titers with age.  Immunocompromised patients however, may experience a primary infection or reactivation of a latent infection, leading to potentially serious complications. The detection of anti-HHV-6 IgM or a fourfold rise in anti-HHV-6 IgG supports a clinical diagnosis.


Human IgM and/or IgG antibodies to HHV-6 antigens are detected by indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) assay. Briefly, a slide well coated with fixed, infected red blood cells are incubated with diluted human serum. If specific HHV-6 antibodies are present, they remain bound, are then labeled by an antibody conjugate and finally detected by fluorescence microscopy. The HHV-6 IgM and IgG IFA assays detect but do not distinguish antibodies directed against both HHV-6A and HHV-6B.

Causes For Rejection

Specimens beyond their acceptable length of time from collection as listed in the specimen handling, or specimen types other than those listed.

Turnaround Time

1-5 days from specimen receipt. Assay performed Tuesday and Friday.


Ship Monday through Friday. Friday shipments must be labeled for Saturday delivery. All specimens must be labeled with patient's name and collection date. A Viracor-IBT test requisition form must accompany each specimen. Ship specimens FedEx Priority Overnight to: Viracor-IBT Laboratories, 1001 NW Technology Dr, Lee's Summit, MO 64086.

Specimen Information


NY approved. Collect 4-5 mL whole blood in red top tube, centrifuge and transfer 2 mL serum to sterile, screw top tube (minimum volume 0.05 mL). Ship frozen on dry ice Monday through Friday.


Specimens are approved for testing in New York only when indicated in the Specimen Information field above.

The CPT codes provided are based on Viracor-IBT's interpretation of the American Medical Association's Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes and are provided for informational purposes only. CPT coding is the sole responsibility of the billing party. Questions regarding coding should be addressed to your local Medicare carrier. Viracor-IBT assumes no responsibility for billing errors due to reliance on the CPT codes illustrated in this material.


Wang, F-Z and Pellet, P. E., HHV-6A, 6B, and 7: Immunobiology and host response. Human Herpesviruses: Biology, Therapy and Immunoprophylaxis. Arvin A, Campadelli-Fiume G, Mocarski E, et al., editors.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2007. Ch. 48.

Pellett P. E., Sanchez-Martinez D., Dominguez G., et al. A strongly immunoreactive virion protein of human herpesvirus 6 variant B strain Z29: identification and characterization of the gene and mapping of a variant-specific monoclonal antibody reactive epitope. Virology. 1993;195(2):521–531. 

Fotheringham J, Akhyani N, Vortmeyer A, Donati D, Williams E, Oh U, Bishop M, Barrett J, Gea-Banacloche J, Jacobson S.  Detection of active human herpesvirus-6 infection in the brain: correlation with polymerase chain reaction detection in cerebrospinal fluid. 2007.  J Infect Dis Feb 1: 195(3):450-4.

Suga S, Yoshikawa T, Asano Y, Nakashima T, Yazaki T, Fukuda M, Kojima S, Matsuyama T, Ono Y, Oshima S. IgM neutralizing antibody responses to human herpesvirus-6 in patients with exanthem subitum or organ transplantation. 1992. Microbiol Immunol. 36(5):495-506.

King, A.M.Q., Adams, M.J., Carstens, E.B. and Lefkowitz, E.J.  Virus taxonomy: classification and nomenclature of viruses: Ninth Report of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. 2012. Ed: San Diego: Elsevier Academic Press.

Yao K, Gagnon S, Akhyani N, Williams E, Fotheringham J, Frohman E, Stuve O, Monson N, Racke MK, Jacobson S. Reactivation of human herpesvirus-6 in natalizumab treated multiple sclerosis patients. PLoS One. 2008. Apr 30;3(4)

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