Specimen Collection and Testing for
Novel Influenza A Virus (H7N9)
Appropriate Specimen Types
For patients admitted with influenza-like illness (ILI) or clinical suspicion of influenza without evidence of pneumonia or other lower respiratory disease – submit one upper respiratory specimen per patient.
- Nasopharyngeal swab is the preferred specimen
- Other acceptable specimens include; nasal swab, nasal wash/aspirate, throat swab, or combined nasal swab with an oropharyngeal swab, and viral culture
Infection Control For Specimen Collection
- Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for confirmed, probable or cases under investigation:
Specimen Collection Information
- Place swab in Viral Transport Media (VTM; e.g., M4, M5, Hanks) for transport to MDH. If VTM is not available, then sterile saline or phosphate buffered saline (PBS) is acceptable.
- Specimens transported in VTM must reach MDH within 7 days of collection
- Specimens not transported in VTM must reach MDH within 5 days of collection
- If sending leftover saline solution (no other chemicals, preservatives) from rapid testing, you must send at least 500 µl.
- Swabs collected and/or transported in non-sterile containers, baggies, or without transport media (dry) will not be accepted.
- Ship at refrigeration temperature.
- Collection of Nasopharyngeal Specimens with the Swab Technique. (Video-New England Journal of Medicine)
Specimen Submission Forms
NOTE: There is NO fee sticker required for influenza testing.
Hospitalized Patients Only (Project #1492)
Use this form for all specimens submitted from persons hospitalized with ILI or clinical suspicion of influenza. In order to allow for prompt testing of submitted specimens for project #1492, please be sure to fill out the form completely, especially information regarding hospitalization (date of admission, hospital of admission, and outcome) found on the lower right hand corner of the form.
- Printable Hospitalized Influenza Form (PDF)
Print and fill out manually.
- Fillable Hospitalized Influenza Form (PDF)
Fill out on your computer, then print.
Shipping to MDH-PHL
- Refrigerate specimen until shipping.
- For an MDH epidemiologist, call 651-201-5414 or 1-877-676-5414.
- During business hours you can call the Virology Supervisor at 651-201-5035.
- More information for health professionals regarding specimen collection, submission, and treatment for influenza.
Seasonal Flu Information for Health Professionals | Information For Health Professionals on Influenza A Variant Viruses H3N2v and H1N2v