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Influenza Testing

The Delaware Public Health Lab performs influenza virus isolation, identification, molecular detection and subtyping. Influenza surveillance is performed as part of the CDC-World Health Organization Influenza surveillance effort. Each year sentinel physicians and other submitters from across the state are provided with specimen collection kits, submission forms, and specific instructions for patient selection and specimen collection, storage, and transport. Influenza viruses that are identified through this program are subtyped to determine the strain(s) of influenza that are circulating in the community. This information, along with a select number of isolates, is provided to CDC and the WHO to be compiled with surveillance data from laboratories around the world.

2017-18 Influenza Letter to Providers

Tests Offered

  • Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (rRT-PCR)
  • Influenza A subtyping by rRT-PCR
  • Influenza B genotyping
  • Seasonal H3N2  
  • 2009/H1N1 Pandemic
  • H5N1 Avian (presumptive result)
  • H3N2 variant (presumptive result)
  • H7N9 (presumptive result)

Specialized Testing (Prior to ordering, please contact the Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology)

  • Pyrosequencing
  • Respiratory Virus Panel (RVP)
  • Shell Vial Testing with Immunofluorescent Antibody Confirmation (IFA)

Acceptable Specimens

  • Nasopharyngeal washes, nasopharyngeal aspirates, nasopharyngeal swabs, nasal swabs, throat swabs, dual throat/nasal swabs, bronchial washes, bronchoalveolar lavages and lung tissue (this includes lung biopsy, bronchial biopsy, and post mortem lung specimens), sputum, viral culture isolates
  • Herpes\Viral\Flu\Pertussis Collection kit-Instructions

Submitting a Specimen

  • Obtain collection kits from the DPHL. This kit will contain a tube with viral transport media and two dry NP swabs, and the Request for Clinical Testing form.
  • Fill out the form completely. Please indicate Influenza PCR or Respiratory Viral Culture.
  • Label the specimen appropriately.
  • Arrange for specimen transport to the laboratory.

DPH Flu Immunization Information


CDC Guidelines for Clinicians on the Use of Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Tests

Return to the Delaware Public Health Laboratory page

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