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Lab Test Details

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



Search TermsFlu A and B PCR
How to Order On the Virology/Immunology Test Request Form (OHA0042), in the “Other” section, check the box for “Influenza RT-PCR Screen.”

If the specimen is associated with an identified outbreak, include the Outbreak Number in the Outbreak Number box on the test request form.
Availability All clients with approval from the Acute and Communicable Disease Prevention Program (ACDP)
PerformedOnce per week or more, depending on demand
Time to ReportingWithin 7 working days after receipt of specimen
CPT Code87502 x 2
If Influenza A is detected, additionally 87503 x 3 (H3, H1N1 (2009) pdm InfA, and HIN1 (2009) pdm H1).
If Influenza B is detected, additionally 87503 x 2 (Victoria and Yamagata lineage)

Specimen Collection Details

CollectionCollect 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 collecting nasopharyngeal specimens are available from Copan.  

Acceptable specimen sources include: Nasopharyngeal swabs (preferred), nasal swabs, throat swabs, combination swabs (2 swabs from accepted specimen sources in one vial), nasal aspirates, nasal washes, bronchoalveolar lavages, bronchial washes, tracheal aspirates, sputum, lung tissue, or cell culture isolates.
Optimal Volume2-3 mL
Minimum Volume1 mL

Store specimens at refrigerated temperatures (2-8°C) 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 Package specimens with fully frozen ice packs to maintain refrigerated temperatures during transport. Transport for receipt at the OSPHL within 3 days of specimen collection.

If specimen is frozen, package specimens with dry ice to maintain frozen temperatures during transport.
Rejection CriteriaSwabs with calcium alginate, cotton tips, or wooden shafts; 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 The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) states that a practitioner order is not required for reflex orders for Influenza or COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) testing during the COVID-19 public health emergency. OSPHL may perform SARS-CoV-2 testing without a clinician’s order.

Original material submitted for testing is retained for 7 calendar days after receipt at the laboratory.

This test will identify influenza A (H3, 2009 H1N1, and H3N2v subtypes), and influenza B Victoria and Yamagata lineages. Highly pathogenic avian influenza testing (e.g., H5 and H7) available if approved.

Method Details


Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR)

Performance Specifications Method Performance Specifications determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Please contact the CDC for specifications if needed.

Change Log


Edit Comments and Performance Specifications

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