New Testing using PCR-based Detection for Multiple Respiratory Viruses

The Microbiology and Molecular Pathology Laboratories will begin performing PCR-based detection of respiratory viruses (RV) instead of culture beginning February 4, 2010.

The laboratory developed RV PCR assay detects influenza (A, B, and novel H1N1), adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), metapneumovirus, and parainfluenza virus (types 1, 2, and 3) using reverse transcription real-time PCR. Metapneumovirus is a recently identified respiratory virus related to RSV with similar clinical manifestations.

Respiratory virus antigen detection by Direct Fluorescent Antibody (DFA) will continue to be performed daily for first line testing with results reported the same day for specimens received by 2:30 pm. The RV PCR assay will replace the use of respiratory virus culture to confirm a negative DFA result. RV PCR testing will be performed Monday through Friday. The RV PCR results will be displayed under the Micro tab in Chart Review following the DFA result for the same specimen.

Respiratory specimen collection remains the same as for respiratory virus antigen detection by DFA or culture. Directions can be found in EPIC.

Questions regarding these changes can be directed to Aaron Bossler, MD, PhD, Molecular Pathology Laboratory Director (ext. 4-9566 or pager 4703), Sandra Richter, MD, Microbiology Laboratory Director (ext. 6-2990 or pager 3063) or Daniel Diekema, MD (ext. 4-5626).