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Lab Test Details

Influenza Type A and B, Qualitative Real-Time RT-PCR with Reflex



Other Names Flu A and B PCR
How to Order Check the 'Other' box under the Virus Isolation heading on the Virology/Immunology Request (form 42) and write in 'RT-PCR for Influenza.'

If the specimen is associated with an identified outbreak, include the Outbreak Number in the Outbreak Number box on the test request form.
Availability Patients who fall within the current Acute and Communicable Disease Program Respiratory Surveillance guidelines, Outbreaks, or with ACDP approval
Methodology Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR)
Performed Once per week or more, depending on demand
Time to Reporting Within 7 working days after receipt of specimen
CPT Code 87798 x 2. If Influenza A is detected, additionally 87798 x 4 (H1, H3, H1N1 (2009) pdm InfA, and HIN1 (2009) pdm H1)

Specimen Collection Details

Collection Collect specimen(s) using Dacron polyester tips or flocked swabs on a plastic shaft (wooden shaft swabs are not acceptable). Nasopharyngeal swabs are preferred. Ideally, collect specimens within 3 days of illness onset and not later than 7 days after illness onset. Insert swabs into viral transport media. Do not submit a dry swab for testing.

Instructions for NP specimen collection (pdf)

Acceptable specimen sources include: Nasopharyngeal swabs (preferred), nasal swabs, throat swabs, combination nasopharyngeal swabs (2 swabs in one vial), nasal aspirates, nasal washes, bronchoalveolar lavages, bronchial washes, tracheal aspirates, sputum, lung tissue, or cell culture isolates.
Optimal Volume 2-3 mL
Minimum Volume 1 mL
Handling Store specimen(s) at refrigerated temperatures pending transport.

If specimen transport cannot occur within 2-3 days of specimen collection, freeze the specimen(s), preferably at -70° C, and ship on dry ice as soon as possible.
Transport Transport refrigerated at 2-8° C for receipt at the OSPHL within 3 days of specimen collection. If specimen is frozen, maintain frozen temperature during transport by properly shipping with dry ice.
Rejection Criteria Swabs with calcium alginate, cotton tips, or wooden shafts; specimens that have dried out; specimens that are collected more than 14 days after illness onset.

Specimens are subject to the requirements of the OSPHL Specimen Submission Policy and Criteria, available at:
Comments This test will identify influenza A H3, seasonal H1, 2009 H1 subtypes, and H3N2 variant, in addition to influenza B. Highly pathogenic avian influenza testing (e.g., H5 and H7) available if approved

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