Viral Respiratory Infection Testing Update

Microbiology and Molecular Pathology Laboratories

As noted in a previous Healthcare Broadcast on March 14th, 2011, all requests for respiratory virus testing were being performed by PCR for the remainder of the respiratory virus season. This policy has now been made permanent. The Microbiology Laboratory is discontinuing RSV and Influenza testing by the Direct Fluorescence Antigen (DFA) assay, and all respiratory virus testing will be performed by PCR. Detection of influenza (A, B, and novel H1N1), adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), metapneumovirus, and parainfluenza virus (types 1, 2, and 3) will be performed using reverse transcription real-time PCR.

PCR results will be reported the same day for specimens received by 2:00 pm Monday- Friday. Results will be reported the same day on the weekend for specimens received by Noon.

Please use EPIC order code, RESPIRATORY VIRUS PCR.

Questions concerning testing can be directed to Aaron Bossler, MD, PhD (ext. 4-9566), Stacey Klutts, MD, PhD (ext. 6-2990), or Dan Diekema, MD (ext. 4-5626).

Reminder Information on Specimen Collection for Respiratory Virus PCR Testing

  1. Nasopharyngeal swab: Collect using the flexible minitip flocked swab (Hospital Stores #33595). Measure the distance from the patient's nostril to the nasopharynx (half the distance from nostril to base of the ear) and hold the swab at that location. Do not advance the swab beyond that point. Gently insert the swab along the base of one nostril (straight back, not upwards) and continue along the floor of the nasal passage until reaching the nasopharynx. Rotate swab 2-3 times and hold in place for 5 seconds. Place swab in tube containing viral transport medium. Break off the excess length of swab at the score mark to permit capping of the tube.

  2. Nasopharyngeal wash/aspirate: