MERS-CoV and Emerging Infectious Disease Testing Guidelines

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed the first United States case of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in an Indiana patient.  This broadcast contains information about how to handle potentially infectious material from patients with an emerging infectious disease such as MERS-CoV.

See this link for guidance of who to test:

Any patient that is suspected of having MERS-CoV needs to be placed in Airborne and Contact Isolation.  For more information see:

Most testing will be referred to the State Hygienic Laboratory (SHL) and/or CDC.  As such, special consideration must be given to specimen collection, processing, and biosafety that are both nonstandard and unique to the pathogen under consideration.

1)  Page Hospital Epidemiology at 3158 for guidance on the testing needed and the level of isolation precautions necessary.

2)  Page the microbiology resident on call at pager 4903 weekdays; pager 3404 evenings and weekends so that the laboratory can anticipate the relevant specimen collection, transport and technical issues.

3)  Acquire and fill out a State Hygienic Laboratory requisition (link below). Include additional information as directed by Hospital Epidemiology.  The State Hygienic Laboratory is available to assist at 319-335-4500 at all hours.

4)  Use an Epic miscellaneous requisition to order testing as instructed by Hospital Epidemiology.

5)  Transport all specimens, labeled with patient identification, to the microbiology laboratory at 6004 BT, phone 319-356-2591, for processing and to arrange for specimen transportation.

Links to CDC info for healthcare providers:
Infection Control:
SHL requisition:
SHL 24/7 line: 319-335-4500
Clinical Microbiology: 356-2591

Questions concerning testing can be directed to Bradley Ford, MD, PhD, Associate Medical Director of Microbiology (ext. 6-2990).