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Test Code 474 Influenza A, B PCR

Important Note

Potentially interfering substances that may be present in the nasopharynx may include, but are not limited to: blood, nasal secretions or mucus, and nasal and throat medications used to relieve congestion, nasal dryness, irritation, or asthma and allergy symptoms, as well as antibiotics and antivirals.

Recent exposure to FluMist or other live attenuated influenza vaccines may cause inaccurate positive results.

Additional Codes


PowerChart: Influenza A B and H1N1 (Swine) PCR

Epic: LAB3147 Influenza A/B by PCR

MA Cerner: Influenza A/B rPCR

Test Method

Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (rtPCR)

Specimen Requirement

Xpert Nasopharyngeal Sample Collection Kit for Viruses (Cepheid #SWAB/B-100)

Additional Specimen Collection Information

The specimen should be collected as soon as possible after the clinical onset of disease. Highest viral titers are present during the acute illness. Nasal collection kit supplies are distributed by the hospital laboratory sites. Specimens in UTM tubes can be stored for up to 72 hours stored at 2-8°c. If there is a delay in testing, freeze the specimens.           

Hospital Patients:

Nasal pharyngeal swab specimen:

  1. Collect the specimen using the Copan Floq Swab in the collection kit.
  2. Each swab has a label indicating “Flu PCR Nasal Pharyngeal Swab”.
  3. Transport the specimen to the lab as soon as possible.
  4. If there is a delay longer than 15 minutes in transporting the specimen to the lab, refrigerate the specimen and then transport on a cold pack or wet ice within one hour of collection.
  5. Remove the cap from the UTM tube.
  6. Insert swab into the utm tube.
  7. Break the swab shaft by bending it against the tube wall.
  8. Replace cap and close tightly.
  9. Label the specimen appropriately with two identifiers (patient ID number, DOB, etc.) include specimen source, date and time of collection.


Clients unable to transport nasal pharyngeal swab specimens to the laboratory within one hour of collection are supplied with the entire nasal collection kit.

  1. Collect nasal pharyngeal specimen.
  2. Remove cap from the UTM and insert the swab.
  3. Break the swab shaft by bending it against the tube wall.
  4. Replace the cap and close the tube tightly.
  5. Label the specimen appropriately with two identifiers, patient name and another identifier, (patient ID number, DOB, etc.) include date and time of collection and initals of person collecting the specimen.
  6. Transport the tube on a cold pack to United Clinical Laboratories as soon as possible.


Testing is performed Monday through Sunday.

Routine orders: Typically completed within 4 hours after specimen arrives at the testing site.

Expedite: Typically completed within 2 hours after specimen arrives at the testing site.

STAT: Typically completed within 1 hour after specimen arrives at the testing site.


Reference Values

Influenza A: Negative

Influenza B: Negative


CPT Code Information

87502 Detection Infectious Agent by Probe Techniques: Influenza virus, for multiple types or sub-types, multiplex reverse transcription and amplified probe technique, first 2 types or subtypes.

Useful For

Aiding in the diagnosis of influenza

LOINC Code Information

48509-4 Influenza virus A+B RNA [Identifier] In Unspecified Specimen By Probe And Target Amplification Method