Clinical Specimen Submission Guidance

Submit all specimens to 50 Orms St, Providence RI 02915. Open Monday to Friday 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Influenza Virus

Lab Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory 401-222-5538
Organism Influenza Virus
Disease Influenza
Test Description

Influenza virus testing is performed using the Centers for Disease Control Human Influenza Virus Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel which has been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the detection and subtyping of influenza virus type A and the detection and lineage determination of influenza virus type B. The performance characteristics of the assay were verified by the RISHL.

Results should be used in conjunction with the patient's clinical symptoms, medical history, and other clinical/laboratory findings to determine an overall clinical diagnosis.

Special Instructions

Specimens are only accepted from designated RI Sentinal Sites that are approved by the RIDOH Center for Acute Infectious Disease Epidemiology (401) 222-2577.

All other laboratory sites must obtain PREAUTHORIZATION by the RIDOH Center for Acute Infectious Disease Epidemiology (401) 222-2577 prior to transporting specimens.


Refer to the Influenza Specimen Collection Kit Instructions for specimen collection.

Specimen Type:

Collect nasopharyngeal specimens with a flexible wire shaft nasopharyngeal (NP) swab.

Collect throat specimens with a plastic shaft swab with a polyester, Dacron or rayon tip

The NP swab and the throat swab can be placed in the same tube of UTM

After specimen is obtained, inoculate the tube of Universal Transport Media (UTM) by inserting the swab into the tube making certain that the liquid in the tube covers the swab tip. The shaft should be clipped equal with the top of the tube.

Store at 2-8°C for up to 72 hours. If unable to transport within 72 hours, the specimen must be frozen at -70°C.

CLIA regulations require two patient identifiers on the specimen container and the test requisition

Form Required

Rhode Island State Health Laboratories (RISHL) test requisition form.

Test Request

Write "FLU" under Comments/Other test requests


Specimens must be transported on wet ice or equivalent cooling material and packaged in accordance with current federal shipping regulations.

If specimen previously frozen it must be transported on dry ice.

Containers specifically labeled for transport of specimens to the RISHL Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory are available in all Microbiology Labs and Sendout Departments.

Normal Value PCR Negative for Influenza A and B
Reporting Requirement Providers must report patient information on Influenza within 4 days using the RIDOH reportable disease form.
Turnaround Time PCR result within 48 to 96 hours