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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
Order in NUlirt or complete NPHL Test Order Form with
Supplemental Forms RequiredMycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) Supplemental
  Synonym: Acid Fast Bacterial (AFB) Culture, TB culture  
  Method: Culture, Bactec Blood culture systems  
  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. Insert blood into Bactec Myolytic/F bottle (red label).   
  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.

Prior to and during shipment:  Transport to lab immediately at ambient 20-25°C.
Shipping instructions, including specimen-handling requirements during transport:  Seal screw-top tubes with Parafilm™ or tape and place in biohazard bag with absorbent material.

Place specimen inside leak proof secondary container (biohazard bag and if transporting by air, use Tyvek™ Envelope) with adsorbent material. The secondary container must be packed inside an approved Category B shipping container.  Position NUlirt packing list or NPHL Test Order form between secondary container and box lid. Seal with tape.  Label outer box as UN3373 Category B, Biological Substance. Transport by NPHL ground courier. If courier not available, ship by FedEx, UPS, or USPS (1st Class, Priority or Express Mail). Follow appropriate DOT/IATA Regulation Guidelines.  For assistance, call NPHL State Training Coordinator at (402) 559-3590.
See instructions and shipping address:

Rapid Mycobacterium growers or probable non-MTB or non-incubated bottles can be packaged and shipped as UN3373 Category B, Biological Substance via NPHL ground courier or FedEx.

NUlirt packing list or appropriate paperwork (completed in entirety) must accompany specimens.

  Unacceptable: EDTA/Lavender tubes, heparin tubes or coagulated blood, Bactec bottle refrigerated or placed in an incubator.  
  Specimen Stability: Critical ambient storage. Transport 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. Sequencing procedures are used for rapid growers and other Mycobacterium ssp not identified by Hologic™ AccuProbe DNA probes. DNA probes are available for M. tuberculosis complex, M. avium-intracellulare complex, M. gordonae as indicated.  
  Reportable Disease: MTB is reportable immediately to state or local health department   
  Comments: No smear performed. Comment on lab request form if a particular organism suspected. One AFB culture order is recommended per 24h period. Bactec Mycolytic/F bottle (red label) is available upon request from client services.

Submit MTB complex isolates to the NPHL for susceptibility testing and genotyping.
NUlirt packing list or appropriate paperwork (completed in entirety) must accompany specimens.
  Revised: 6/15/2021 


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