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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: Measles Virus Detection by PCR  
  Synonym: Measles Virus Detection and Genotyping, Rubeola, Measles molecular 
  Method: Reverse Transcriptase (RT) - RNA Amplification, Viral culture, Genotyping by Nucleic acid sequencing, Real time RT-PCR, Template production by RT-PCR  
  Availability: Pre-Approval Needed from Local or State Health Department. Approval must be sent to or can notify NPHL by phone at (402) 559-9444.

NPHL Special Microbiology Requisition and Vaccine Preventable Disease forms required. Include vaccination history, age, date of onset, and date of sample collection.

PCR available 2-7 business days, Genotyping 10 business days.  
  Specimen: In order of preference: throat, urine, and nasal pharynx. Ideally, all 3 specimens should be collected.  
  Collection Device: Throat/Nasopharynx: viral swab transport system

Urine: sterile screw cap container or polystyrene capped tube

Specimen Labeling - Test subject to CLIA regulations and requires 2 patient identifiers on specimen container and requisition forms  
  Volume: Urine: >1mL (suggested 10-40 mL)  
  Storage/Transport: Storage prior to shipment: Refrigerate at 2-8 °C, do not freeze.

Shipping instructions, including specimen handling requirements during transport: Sender should contact the NPHL by email or phone before shipping. Ship specimen Monday -Thursday overnight to avoid weekend deliveries. Refrigerated specimen should be shipped on cold packs. Package and ship as Category B, Biological Substance, UN3373. See instructions and shipping address on NPHL website.  
  Unacceptable: Dry swab, wood-shafted swab, cotton or calcium alginate swab. Specimen not transported in viral transport media or sterile saline. Frozen specimen. Leaking container.  
  Specimen Stability: Specimen stable for 5 to 7 days refrigerated.  
  Reference Interval: PCR negative for measles virus; not detected.  
  Reportable Disease: A positive result is reportable. 
  Comments: A confirmed case is present if the specimen is PCR positive for measles virus AND the patient has symptoms consistent with measles. PCR has optimum sensitivity if specimens are collected 4 days after rash onset; however it is acceptable to collect specimens for PCR up to 9 days post rash onset. PCR results are not standardized across clinical laboratories and interpretation of PCR results must be done in conjunction with an evaluation of patient signs and symptoms and available epidemiological information. Also consider serological testing as an alternative method for diagnosis (serum required).

Test is performed at CDC Reference Laboratory.

PCR positive specimens undergo genotyping by nucleic acid sequencing. 
  Revised: 3/7/2017 


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