Specimen Collection and Testing for MERS-CoV

For patients with clinical suspicion of MERS-CoV, please call MDH at 651-201-5414, or toll-free at 1-877-676-5414, to obtain testing approval and consultation on specimen collection.

On this page:
Appropriate Specimen Types and Specimen Collection
Infection Control for Specimen Collection
Specimen Submission Forms
Shipping to MDH-PHL
Other Influenza lab information

Appropriate Specimen Types and Specimen Collection

For patients with clinical suspicion of MERS-CoV, please call MDH at 651-201-5414, or toll-free at 1-877-676-5414, to obtain testing approval and consultation on specimen collection.

CDC recommends the collection of specimens from lower respiratory tract, upper respiratory tract, and blood.  At a minimum, MDH recommends the collection of a respiratory specimen (upper or lower) and a blood specimen.    

  • Lower respiratory specimens
    • Sputum
    • Broncheoalveolar lavage
    • Bronchial wash
    • Tracheal aspirate
    • Pleural fluid
  • Upper respiratory specimens
    • Nasopharyngreal swab and oralpharyngeal swab (NP/OP swab)
    • Instructions for collecting NP/OP swab:
      1. Use only synthetic fiber swabs with plastic shafts.
      2. Do not use calcium alginate swabs or swabs with wooden shafts.
      3. Place swab into a sterile tube containing 2-3ml of viral transport media.
      4. NP/OP specimens need to be combined, placing both swabs in the same vial.
  • Serum
    • For children and adults - collect 1 tube (5-10mL) of whole blood in a serum separator tube.
    • For infants – collect a minimum of 1 mL of whole blood. If possible, collect 1 mL in a serum separator tube.
  • Interim Guidelines for Collecting, Handling, and Testing Clinical Specimens from Patients Under Investigation (PUIs) for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Version 2.1 (PDF)
    CDC document with more information about specimen collection. Attention: Non-MDH link

Infection Control For Specimen Collection

Specimen Submission Forms

Please use the Clinical Testing and Submission Form and note MERS-CoV testing under “Other”:

Shipping to MDH-PHL

  • Contact MDH for approval before sending specimens for a suspect case.
    • Providers should call MDH at (651) 201-5414 or toll-free at 1-877-676-5414 before sending specimens for suspect cases.
    • Do not submit specimens for a suspect case without prior approval from MDH.
  • Refrigerate specimen until shipping.

Questions?

  • For an MDH epidemiologist, call (651) 201-5414 or 1-877-676-5414.
  • During business hours you can call the Virology Supervisor at (651) 201-5255.

Updated Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at 10:52AM