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Test ID: HHV6V Human Herpesvirus-6, Molecular Detection, PCR, Spinal Fluid

Reporting Name

HHV-6 PCR, Varies

Useful For

As an adjunct in the rapid diagnosis of human herpesvirus-6 infection in cerebrospinal fluid specimens

Clinical Information

Human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6) is a member of the Herpesviridae family. These viruses contain DNA surrounded by a lipid envelope. Among members of this group, this virus is most closely related to cytomegalovirus (CMV) and HHV-7. As with other members of the herpesvirus group (herpes simplex virus [HSV] 1, HSV 2, varicella zoster virus, CMV, Epstein-Barr virus, HHV-7, HHV-8), HHV-6 may cause primary and reactivated infections subsequent to latent association with cells.(1) Infection with HHV-6 occurs early in childhood. Most adults (80%-90%) have been infected with this virus.  


HHV-6 was first linked with exanthem subitum (roseola infantum) in 1998; since then, the virus has been associated with central nervous system disease almost exclusively in immunocompromised patients.(1) HHV-6 is commonly detected in patients posttransplantation. Clinical symptoms associated with this viral infection include febrile illness, pneumonitis, hepatitis, encephalitis, and bone marrow suppression. However, the majority of HHV-6 infections are asymptomatic.(2) The incidence of HHV-7 infection and its clinical manifestations posttransplantation are less well characterized.


HHV-6 is designated as variant A (HHV-6A) or variant B (HH6-B) depending on restriction enzyme digestion patterns and on its reaction with monoclonal antibodies. Generally, variant B has been associated with exanthem subitum, whereas variant A has been found in many immunosuppressed patients.(3)

Report Available

2 to 5 days

Day(s) Performed

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Clinical Reference

1. De Bolle L, Naesens L, De Clercq E: Update on human herpesvirus 6 biology, clinical features, and therapy. Clin Microbiol Rev 2005 Jan;18(1):217-245

2. Dockrell DH, Paya CV: Human herpesvirus-6 and -7 in transplantation. Rev Med Virol 2001 Jan-Feb;11(1):23-36

3. Abdel-Haq NM, Asmar BI: Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV6) infection. Indian J Pediatr 2004 Jan;71(1):89-96

4. Dockrell DH, Smith TF, Paya CV: Human herpesvirus 6. Mayo Clin Proc 1999 Feb;74(2):163-170

Method Name

Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)/DNA Probe Hybridization

Specimen Type


Specimen Required

Supplies: Sarstedt 5 mL Aliquot Tube (T914)


Preferred: Aliquot Tube

Acceptable: Sterile vial

Specimen Volume: 0.5 mL

Collection Instructions: Do not centrifuge.

Specimen Minimum Volume

0.3 mL

Specimen Stability Information

Specimen Type Temperature Time Special Container
CSF Refrigerated (preferred) 7 days
  Frozen  7 days

Reference Values


Test Classification

This test was developed, and its performance characteristics determined by Mayo Clinic in a manner consistent with CLIA requirements. This test has not been cleared or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

CPT Code Information


LOINC Code Information

Test ID Test Order Name Order LOINC Value
HHV6V HHV-6 PCR, Varies 33942-4


Result ID Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
SS012 Specimen Source 31208-2
56092 HHV-6 PCR, Varies 33942-4


If not ordering electronically, complete, print, and send a Microbiology Test Request (T244) with the specimen.

Mayo Clinic Laboratories | Microbiology and Infectious Disease Catalog Additional Information:

mml-immunocompromised, mml-mbid-cnsinfections