Abbrev Code:XMISC   
Order Code:LAB4909Order Name:Send Outs Misc Test
Synonyms:Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, Coronavirus; MERS PCR
CPT Codes: x0
Turnaround Time:Specimens are sent to reference laboratory Mon-Frii.
Special Instructions:
Clinicians planning to submit samples for MERS-CoV testing are required to call MDH at 651-205-5414, or toll free at 1-877-676-5414, to obtain testing approval.
Special notes on respiratory samples:
  • Lower respiratory samples are preferred to upper respiratory samples.
  • Separate samples specific for MERS-CoV should be collected. If additional testing is required (e.g., for bacterial culture or influenza), separate respiratory samples should be collected.
  • It is recommended that respiratory viral cultures not be ordered in cases of suspected MERS-CoV.
  • Positive results for another respiratory pathogen should not preclude testing for MERS-CoV because co-infection can occur.
  • Lower respiratory samples include: BAL, tracheal aspirate, pleural fluid, or good quality sputum samples.
  • Upper respiratory samples include nasopharyngeal AND oropharyngeal swabs (submitted together in same vial or viral transport media) or nasopharyngeal wash/aspirate.
Associated Links:

Minnesota Dept of Health Testing and Submission Form, Nasopharyngeal Swab Collection, MDH Specimen Collection and Testing for MERS-CoV

Collection Instructions

Specimen:Blood AND respiratory sample
Optimal Volume:5-10 mL blood in red (gel) tube
Minimum\Peds Volume:1 mL (peds) blood in red (gel) tube
Container:See Collection Instructions, Red (gel)
Collection Instructions:
Upper Respiratory Tract Nasopharyngeal AND oropharyngeal swabs (NP/OP swabs): Use only synthetic fiber swabs with plastic shafts. Do not use calcium alaginate swabs or swabs with wooden shafts as they may contain substances that inactivate some viruses and inhibit PCR testing. Place swabs immediately into sterile tubes containing 2-3 mL of viral transport media. NP/OP specimens can be combined, placing both swabs in the same vial.
  • Nasopharyngeal swabs - insert a swab into the nostril parallel to the palate. Leave the swab in place for a few seconds to absorb secretions. Swab both nasopharyngeal areas.
  • Oropharyngeal swabs - Swab the posterior pharynx, avoiding the tongue.
  • Nasopharyngeal wash/aspirate or nasal aspirate - Collect 2-3 mL into a sterile, leak-proof screw cap sputum collection cup or sterile dry container.
Lower Respiratory Tract Bronchoalveolar lavage, trachael aspirate, pleural fluid: Collect 2-3 mL into sterile, leak-proof, screw cap sputum collection cup or sterile dry container.
Sputum: Have the patient rinse the mouth with water and then expectorate deep cough sputum directly into a sterile, leak-proof screw cap sputum collection cup or sterile dry container.

Processing and Shipping

Specimen Processing:

Process and aliquot all serum after centrifuging. No minimum serum volume listed. Follow guidelines for pediatric and adult volumes.


Shipping Instructions:Refrigerate specimen at 2-8°C for up to 72 hours; if exceeding 72 hours, freeze at -70°C and ship on dry ice. Call for STAT On-Time Courier and send directly to MDH. Business hours to receive specimen samples are Mon-Fri, 8:00 am - 4:30 pm and Saturdays 8:00 am - 12:00 pm. No Sunday shipments. Ensure that the MDH Clinical Testing and Submission Form accompanies the specimens.
Test Performed at or Referral Lab Lab Sendouts  (Minnesota Department of Health)

Click HERE to Report test errors or omissions.
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