Clinical Virology Laboratory -
Specimens for virus detection should be collected as follows:
Guidelines for the Choice and Handling of Specimens
- Throat wash
The patient gargles with 10 mL of sterile balanced salt solution (Hank's or Earles BSS) or trypticase soy broth (TSB); expelled into a sterile container.
Random clean-catch sample collected in a sterile container.
Collect 7-10 mL of blood in a Yellow ACD tube (Solution A or B). Blood more than 72 hrs old from time of collection to the time of processing (9AM) will be rejected. See additional policy guidelines.
- NP Swab
Insert a flexible fine-shafted swab through the nostril into the nasopharynx and rotate swab gently a few times. Place into M4 viral transport media.
- Vesicle fluids
Withdraw vesicle fluid using a tuberculin syringe or swab the vesicle and place it in an M4 Culture Transport Tube or 1 ml of BSS or TSB; crusted, dry lesions are not vesicles and are not appropriate for virus isolation.
Collect aseptically and keep moist by placing in sterile container with 2 mL of BSS, TSB, saline or viral transport media M4.
Approximately 5 gm of stool placed in a tightly-capped sterile container without preservatives. A swab covered with stool is acceptable for culture but not preferred. Swabs are UNACCEPTABLE for Clostridium difficile toxin.
Specimens for cytomegalovirus (CMV) isolation should be sent as soon as possible to our laboratory since this virus is very heat labile and the probability of isolating it decreases rapidly with time.
If absolutely necessary, all specimens EXCEPT BLOOD and those for CMV, RSV and VZ can be frozen at -50°C or below (do not use -20°C) and sent to the laboratory on dry ice.
Note: Specimens received after 2 PM may not be processed until the next day.
- Specimen Collection Guide for Virus Culture
- Appropriate Specimens for Virus Culture
- Collection and Transportation of Specimens for Virus Culture
- Specimen Collection Guidelines
- Specimen Transportation Guidelines
- Guidelines for Specimens Sent from Outside UPMC
- Guidelines for the Choice and Handling of Specimens
- Specimen Collection Guide for Viral Antigen Detection Tests
- Specimen Collection Guidelines for CNAT (CMV) PCR Test
- Packaging / Shipping Instructions for CNAT (CMV) PCR Test
- Specimen Collection Guidelines - Molecular Virology and Chlamydia Tests (PCR, Real-Time PCR)
- Specimen Collection Guidelines FOR RVPNAT