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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: AFB,Culture, Blood Supplemental Forms Required - Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) Supplemental  
  Synonym: Acid fast culture, TB culture  
  Method: Culture,Bactec 460 TB  
  Availability: Test performed Monday – Friday or Daily  
  Specimen: Blood or Bone Marrow. Draw aseptically per Blood Culture Collection procedure. Wipe off top of Blood culture bottle with alcohol wipe and let dry. Collect blood into Bactec Myolytic/F bottle (red label). Transport to lab immediately at 20-25 degrees centigrade.  
  Collection Device: Bactec Myolytic/F bottle (red label). Specimen Labeling: Test subject to CLIA regulations and required 2 patient identifiers on specimen container and requisition forms  
  Volume: 3-5 mL blood for adults; 1-3 mL blood for pediatrics; 1mL minimum volume for bone marrow.  
  Storage/Transport: Prior to and during shipment:Transport to lab immediately at 20-25°C Shipping instructions, including specimen-handling requirements during transport: Package and ship as UN3373 Category B, Biological Substance. Place in biohazard bag with absorbent material. 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:  
  Unacceptable: EDTA/Lavender tubes, heparin tubes or coagulated blood, Bactec bottle refrigerated or placed in an incubator.  
  Specimen Stability: Critical ambient storage. Transport to lab ASAP.  
  Reference Interval: Negative culture results available at 1 week and final negative at 6 weeks; Positive results will be reported as soon as detected. Standard reference procedures for stain and culture. Biochemical standard reference procedures are used for rapid growers. DNA probes available for M. tuberculosis complex, M. avium-intracellulare complex, M. gordonae as indicated.  
  Reportable Disease: Mycobacterium TB Complex – Report immediately. Refer to Nebraska DHHS Title 173, Communicable Diseases  
  Comments: No smear performed. Comment on lab request form if particular organism suspected. One AFB culture order is recommended per 24h period. Bactec Mycolytic/F bottle (red label) is available upon request. MTB complex isolates are submitted to the NPHL for susceptibility testing and genotyping.  
  Revised: 9/2/2020 


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