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Alberta Precision Laboratories (APL) Test Directory

Respiratory Virus Screen
(Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), Influenza A and B)

Source See Specimen Handling section.
Mnemonic M RRSV
Specimen Requirements

Nasopharyngeal Aspirate, Auger Suction, Nasal or Bronchial Washings (BW), Bronchial Alveolar Lavage (BAL), Tracheal Aspirate submitted in sterile container or sterile specimen trap.
Nasopharyngeal swab, Nasal swab, Throat swab submitted in Viral Transport Media (VTM) or Universal Transport Media (UTM)-red top plastic vial containing clear pink liquid.

Acceptable specimens:

  • Nasopharyngeal aspirate, nasal or bronchial washings, bronchial alveolar lavage (BAL), tracheal aspirate. Submit in sterile container or sterile specimen trap.


  • Nasopharyngeal swab/nasal swab/throat swab. Submit in Viral Transport Media (VTM) or Universal Transport Media (UTM).


When collecting specimens using a specimen trap, directions for use MUST be followed to avoid leaking specimens:

BUSSE auger suction trap directions for use:

1. Tighten cap for firm seal before collection

2. Connect distal end of catheter to tubing; attach suction tubing to removable plastic connector

3. Collect specimen, then remove the suction tubing along with connector, exposing chimney.

4. To seal trap, remove catheter from tubing and connect tubing to chimney, forming an inverted "U".

      Directions are also clearly indicated on the container packaging.

If a nasopharyngeal swab is the only specimen available collect using a cotton or dacron swab on aluminum or plastic shaft. DO NOT use calcium alginate swabs as they may inhibit PCR.  Submit the swab in Viral Transport Medium or Universal Transport Medium.

Specimen Handling


Specimen MUST be received in Microbiology laboratory within 2 hours of receipt  in the RRL. Store specimen at room temperature . DO NOT refrigerate.

Parafilm or tape the connection and lid of the sterile trap before transport.

Nasopharyngeal swab or nasal swab or throat swab

Store specimen at 4°C.
Specimen can be refrigerated up to 24 hours prior to testing.
DO NOT freeze.

Additional Information

Turnaround time for negative result: 1 day.

Screening of respiratory specimens by a molecular Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) method is used to detect 3 respiratory viruses: Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), Influenza A and Influenza B. The PCR method is greater than 95% sensitive.

Testing Location CLS Microbiology
Testing Frequency


Alternate Name(s)

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