Changes in Viral Cultures

Effective Wednesday, July 13, 2011, viral culture testing will no longer be performed in the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Microbiology laboratory.  Testing for viral culture had been limited to cytomegalovirus (CMV), herpes simplex virus (HSV), and varicella-zoster virus (VZV) only on specimen types not validated for testing using molecular methods such as PCR.  Viral cultures will now be available through two new mail-out test options in Epic:

            VIRAL CULTURE (LAB7521)
            VIRAL CULTURE, URINE (LAB7537)

The viruses that can be isolated by culture include adenovirus, CMV, enteroviruses, HSV, influenza A & B, parainfluenza (types 1, 2, and 3), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and VZV.  The acceptable specimen types for “VIRAL CULTURE” (LAB7521) are biopsy, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid, eye swab, lesion, nasal aspirate, nasal swab, nasal wash, stool, throat swab, tissue, and tracheal aspirate.  The specimen type is selected from a drop-down menu when ordering in Epic.  Samples for viral culture should be collected in a sterile container and transported immediately to the Core Laboratory/Specimen Control.

There is also now a separate mail-out test option for viral culture for Chlamydia Trachomatis: “CHLAMYDIA TRACHOMATIS GENITAL CULTURE” (LAB7522).  This is NOT the appropriate test for routine chlamydia testing but may be indicated in specialized cases (e.g., sexual assault or abuse).  The preferred assay for routine chlamydia testing is “CHLAMYDIA TRACHOMATIS DETECTION BY PCR” (LAB2223).

Questions concerning viral testing can be directed to Stacey Klutts, MD, PhD (ext. 356-2990), Aaron Bossler, MD (ext. 384-5626) or Matthew Krasowski, MD, PhD (ext. 384-9380).