Measles, Mumps, Rubella Virus PCR Detection
Order in NUlirt or complete NPHL Test Order Form with following forms:

  1. Vaccine Preventable Disease form  

Measles, Mumps, Rubella Virus Detection and Genotyping, Measles, Mumps, Rubella Virus molecular, Rubeola, German or Three Day Measles


CDC does not accept routine shipments on weekends or holidays. Please make sure packages arrive before Thursday at NPHL for arrival at CDC on Friday.



  Collection Device:

See above links.


See above links.
Specimen Labeling: Test subject to CLIA regulations and requires 2 patient identifiers and specimen source on container


Prior to and during shipment:  Refrigerate 2-8°C. Freeze at -70°C if specimen cannot be shipped within 24h.

Shipping instructions, including specimen-handling requirements during transport:  Seal screw-top tubes with Parafilm™ or tape and place in biohazard bag with absorbent material.

Ship as Category B using insulated box with frozen gel packs to keep at refrigerator temperature. Place specimen bag inside insulated box and place packing list or other paperwork between Styrofoam lid and box lid. 

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 filled with frozen gel-packs to keep specimen refrigerated or dry ice to keep specimen frozen. 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.  

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


Specimens must remain frozen; warming or freeze thawing reduces sensitivity.

Commercial products designed for the collection of throat specimens or a flocked polyester fiber swab can be used. Synthetic swabs are preferred over cotton swabs, which may contain substances that are inhibitory to enzymes used in RT-PCR. Flocked synthetic swabs appear to be absorbent and elute samples more efficiently.

Samples without a source of protein in the medium will lose 90%-99% infectivity within 2h at 4 °C.

  Specimen Stability:

Specimen stable up to 24h refrigerated. Freeze after 24h.

  Reference Interval:

PCR negative for measles virus; not detected. 

  Reportable Disease:

Report positive Measles immediately to local or state health department. Refer to Nebraska DHHS Title 173, Communicable Diseases.


Pre-approval needed from state or local health department.  Send approval to NPHL@unmc.edu or call (402) 559-9444.

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 within 3 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 performed at CDC Reference Lab. 

PCR positive specimens undergo genotyping by nucleic acid sequencing.

NUlirt packing list or NPHL Test Order Form (completed in entirety) must accompany the specimen.

Test performed at the CDC. Submit all specimens through the NPHL, NOT directly to the CDC.

  Revised: 6/21/2021