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Beaumont Laboratory

Measles Antibody, IgM

Measles IgM, 7-day Measles IgM, Red Measles IgM, Rubeola Antibody, IgM, ARUP# 99597, EPIC: LAB6147, SOFT: XRBEM


Acute and convalescent specimens must be labeled as such; parallel testing is preferred and convalescent specimens must be received within 30 days from receipt of the acute samples. Please mark sample plainly as "acute" or "convalescent".

Specimen Collection Criteria

Collect (preferred specimen): One Gold-top SST tube.
Also acceptable: One plain Red-top tube.

Physician Office/Drawsite Specimen Preparation

Let specimen clot 30-60 minutes then centrifuge to separate serum from cells within two hours of collection. Transfer serum to a plastic transport tube and refrigerate (2-8°C or 36-46°F).

Preparation for Courier Transport

Transport: 0.5 mL serum, refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F). (Min: 0.1 mL)

Rejection Criteria

  • Icteric specimens.
  • Hemolyzed specimens.
  • Severely lipemic specimens.
  • Specimens not collected and processed as indicated.


Specimen Stability for Testing:

Room Temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F): 48 hours
Refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F): 14 days
Frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below): 1 year

Specimen Storage in Department Prior to Disposal:

Specimen retention time is determined by the policy of the reference laboratory. Contact the Sendout Laboratory with any questions.


Sent to ARUP Laboratories, Salt Lake City, UT.


Monday - Friday.
Results available in 2-6 days.

Reference Range

Negative: 0.79 AU or Less.
Equivocal: 0.80- 1.20 AU.
Positive: 1.21 AU or Greater.

AU=Arbitrary Unit

Test Methodology

Semi-Quantitative Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay.


  • Rubeola IgM antibody responses normally occur 7-14 days after the onset of disease. Testing immediately post- exposure is of no value without a later convalescent specimen.
  • While the presence of IgM antibodies suggest current or recent infection, low levels of IgM antibodies may occasionally persist for more than 12 months post-infection or immunization. Such a residual IgM response may be distinguished from early IgM response to infection by testing sera from patients 2-3 weeks later for changing levels of specific IgM antibodies.

Clinical Utility

Rubeola IgM tests can be used to aid in the detection of an active or recent infection.

Clinical Disease

Rubeola (red measles, seven day measles) is an infectious, viral disease of childhood. The disease starts with a cold, fever, cough, conjunctivitis and malaise. A red blotchy rash develops on the face approximately 3 days after onset. The rash continues to spread to the rest of the body. Characteristically, Kopik's spots (tiny white spots) appear in the mouth and throat. Serious complications such as pneumonia, croup, or encephalitis can follow a rubeola infection.


Measles occurs worldwide in temperate, tropical, and arctic climates. Prior to widespread measles vaccination, epidemics occurred at 2-5 year intervals in late winter and early spring. Since 1989,there has been a marked increase in the number of measles cases reported in the U.S. with 40% of cases having a history of previous vaccination. (1)

Incubation Period

Fever usually occurs 9-12 days after virus exposure. The rash develops 10-14 days after exposure. Patients are infectious from 1-2 days before the appearance of the fever to the fourth day after the appearance of rash. Communicability is minimal after the second day of rash. (1)


Measles is extremely contagious and is transmitted via respiratory droplets, Measles may be transmitted by direct contact with oropharyngeal secretions or rarely, by articles freshly soiled with nasal or throat secretions.


  1. Wiedbrauk D, Johnston SLG. Manual of Clinical Virology, Raven Press, New York,NY, 1993.

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This directory currently reflects information only for specimens collected and/or processed at the Farmington Hills, Grosse Pointe, Royal Oak, and Troy campuses.