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Test #


Test CPT Codes


Influenza A & B, RT-PCR

Test Type


Test Disease

Influenza A & B

Test Technology


Clinical Utility


Test Specimen

Test Specimen

  • Throat or nasopharyngeal swab in 3 mL V-T-M medium or Universal transport media equivalent

Specimen Collection

  • Specimen should be collected during acute phase of the disease, ideally within 24 hours of onset of symptoms. Guide the flexible (ideally a flocked rather than wound) swab into the contour of the nares and into the nasopharynx. Leave in place 15 to 30 seconds, rotate and remove. Place swab in viral transport.

  • Throat swab: Carefully rub the posterior nasopharynx with a dry sterile swab (preferably the "flocked swab"). Avoid touching the tongue or buccal mucosa. Place swab in viral transport.

Specimen Requirements

  • 1mL

Transport Conditions

  • Refrigerate, Ship on cool packs 20-80 C if received in 72 hours


  • Negative - No Influenza A or Influenza B viral RNA detected

  • Influenza A Positive - Influenza A viral RNA detected

  • Influenza B Positive - Influenza B viral RNA detected

  • Indeterminate

  • Quantity not sufficient

Test Storage

Frozen at -20° C (preferred). Refrigerated specimens acceptable (if received for testing within 72 hours of collection). Room temperature swabs are acceptable (if received within 24 hours of collection).

Rejection criteria

  • Cotton-tip swabs in Urinary or Vaginal transport media

  • Specimens collected with calcium alginate swabs

  • Specimens collected with cotton tips and wood shafts

  • Refrigerated samples greater than 72 hours old

  • Room temperature swabs greater than 24 hours old

  • Improperly labeled, grossly contaminated, broken or leaking transport device

  • Collection with substances inhibitory to PCR including heparin, hemoglobin, ethanol, EDTA concentrations >0.01M

  • Specimens submitted in glass tubes/containers

Turnaround Time (TAT)

≤ 2 days

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