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Clotted Blood or Serum for Antibody Studies

Paired sera are usually required, one in the acute and the second in the convalescent phase (10-14 days after onset). We need to know enough clinical detail to decide which viruses to screen for, and a date of onset to decide whether waiting for a second serum is appropriate.

Only a limited range of viruses is tested for, and often serology is unhelpful, e.g. for coxsackie and echo viruses where culture or PCR of throat swab and faeces is suitable. Viral serology is helpful when a specific virus is suspected (e.g. rubella, CMV, mumps), or with particular problems such as rash, flu-like, and other respiratory tract infections. Patients with vague or long-standing problems (“lassitude” etc.) almost never produce diagnostic results. As a high proportion of people have antibody to Herpes simplex virus antibody tests are usually unhelpful: PCR is the diagnostic method of choice.

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While contagious viruses are active year-round, winter is a prime time for norovirus, colds, influenza (flu), and other respiratory illnesses.

 

These infections are highly contagious, so we urge people to stay away unless their visit is absolutely essential to help reduce the spread of infection within our hospitals.

Hospitals are full of sick people, many of them frail and elderly, so bringing germs into a hospital is the worst thing you can do.  We have an active programme of infection prevention but we can’t spot visitors who really shouldn’t be here.  Please stay at home if you’re unwell to help aid the wellbeing and recovery of our patients.