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Respiratory Virus Testing

Respiratory Virus Testing

We are pleased to announce that, as of Feb 25, 2013, the Virology Laboratory at St Paul's Hospital will be utilizing a new respiratory virus testing service for all of our patients. Currently, we rely on PCR to test for influenza viruses but we have had to utilize more traditional methods (culture and fluorescent antibody testing) to identify other common respiratory viruses. Now we are able to test for those other viruses also by PCR.
So, when a request for influenza virus testing is received, the full panel will be used. This includes, in addition to influenza A and B, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), parainfluenza viruses 1, 2 and 3, adenoviruses, and human metapneumovirus (HMPV).
Because it is frequently difficult or impossible to predict which of these viruses is causing influenza-like illness in a given patient, we will be testing for all of these viruses when a request is made for influenza testing. Of course, you may simply request 'respiratory viruses' in your test request, if you want the full panel.
Our validation testing of the new PCR panel has shown impressive sensitivity and 100% specificity but we will be continuing, in the short term, to culture each specimen to ensure that we are not missing any positives until we are satisfied that the PCR test is as sensitive, or more sensitive (as is likely) than the traditional culture approach.
Testing Cut-off Time
(specimen arrival at SPH Lab): 1200 noon (Weekdays) 
                                                       Weekend/Stat Holidays - Contact Microbiologist on call
SCM Ordering:  Respiratory Virus PCR
Sunquest LIS Order Code:  RESPCR

Please direct any questions regarding this new service to Dr. Chris Sherlock 604-806-9422, or the Microbiologist on call.

To view the Laboratory Medicine Bulletin click here