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of Nebraskans through diagnostic laboratory
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Testing Results
IMPORTANT! Pre-approval needed from state or local health department. Local or State Health Department. Send approval to or call (402) 559-9444.

NPHL has moved to an electronic ordering system, NUlirt, and it is now the preferred method to order all tests. Once ordered, print a "batch list" (see NUlirt Guide).

Forms Required - Nulirt batch list or NPHL Test Request Form (completed in entirety) must accompany the specimen to include the following information: symptoms and date of onset, pregnancy status, travel and vaccine history. Testing will not be performed without all required information.


  Test: Influenza Virus RNA Detection
Supplemental Form if Not Entered into NUlirt– Contact Robbin Williams DHHS
  Synonym: Flu PCR or rRT-PCR, Influenza Confirmation, FLUPCR, CDC Flu Test  
  Method: Qualitative nucleic acid amplified real time RT-PCR assay  
  Availability: Varies according to testing volume, refer to laboratory for testing interval  
  Specimen: Upper Respiratory Tract: Posterior-pharyngeal swab, nasopharyngeal or nasal swab, nasal aspirate, or nasal wash (1:1 volume with VTM);
Lower Respiratory Tract: Tracheal aspirate, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), bronchial washes, endotracheal aspirate, endotracheal wash, sputum, lung tissue. (contact the laboratory for guidance if other specimen sources are being considered)  
  Collection Device: Transport human respiratory specimens in Viral Transport Media (VTM)
Specimen Labeling: Test subject to CLIA regulations and required 2 patient identifiers on specimen container and requisition forms  
  Volume: Collect 2 - 3 mL from nasopharyngeal wash (using normal saline) or 2 - 3 mL BAL  
  Storage/Transport: Prior to and during shipment:  Refrigerated at 2-8° C. Ship within 72h.
Shipping instructions, including specimen-handling requirements during transport:

All screw-top tubes must be sealed with parafilm or tape.  
Package and ship as UN3373 Category B, Biological Substance. Place in biohazard bag with absorbent material. Refrigerated specimen should be shipped on frozen gel-packs. Transport by NPHL ground courier (NPHL brown shipper not required). If courier not available, contact Client Services (866) 290-1406 to arrange pickup.    
See instructions and shipping address:
NUlirt packing list or NPHL Test Order Form and Supplemental Form (completed in entirety) must accompany specimens.  
  Unacceptable: Slides, smears; unacceptable sources; Sputum, tracheal aspirates, or throat swabs or samples collected in non-viral transport media or using a bacterial culture swab; dry swabs; wood shaft or calcium alginate swabs; samples collected in EIA or extracted transport media.  
  Specimen Stability: 2-8° C, 72h  
  Reference Interval: Negative  
  Reportable Disease: Positive results (influenza A virus [untypable], influenza B virus [untypable], influenza A virus subtype H3 [seasonal], influenza A virus subtype 2009 [H1N1], influenza B Yamagata lineage or influenza B Victoria lineage) are reported within 7d to local or state health department. Both positive and negative results are reported to the state within 7d for ELR laboratories only.   
Refer to Nebraska DHHS Title 173, Communicable Diseases. Ship all non-typable influenza A virus specimens to NPHL.  
  Comments: Pre-approval needed from state or local health department.  Send approval or notifications to or call (402) 559-9444.
A false negative result may occur if a specimen is improperly collected, transported or handled.  False negative results may also occur if amplification inhibitors are present in the specimen or if inadequate numbers of organisms are present in the specimen.  
  Revised: 12/4/2020 


If you have questions about proper specimen collection, please call NPHL Client Services at (402) 559-2440 or toll free at (866) 290-1406.