VRESP - Specimen: Viral Culture, Respiratory

Test Catalog

Test Name

Test ID: VRESP    
Viral Culture, Respiratory

Testing Algorithm Delineates situations when tests are added to the initial order. This includes reflex and additional tests.

All routine viral cultures are inoculated into cell culture tubes for viral detection. The most common specimens received for routine testing include bronchoalveolar lavage, sputum, and throat. A rapid (16-hour incubation) shell vial cell culture assay will be inoculated when specimens are designated for herpes simplex virus or cytomegalovirus detection or as appropriate for source indicated.


If enterovirus or hand, foot, and mouth disease is suspected, clearly indicate "enterovirus" on request.

Specimen Type Describes the specimen type validated for testing


Advisory Information

Source-based recommendation for testing:

Esophogeal specimens: Tissue, swabs, or brushings

Order VIRNR / Viral Culture, Non Respiratory


Infectious agent-based recommendations for testing:

If herpes simplex visus (HSV) is suspected in a neonatal patient (<1 month), order VHSV / Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), Culture From Neonates


State Health Department testing only: specimens will not be accepted at Mayo Medical Laboratories for the following diseases (submit directly to your state health department).



-High-risk infectious agents (examples of high-risk infections agents include: Ebola and other causative agents of viral hemorrhagic fever, avian influenza, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

Shipping Instructions

Specimen must be transported at refrigerate temperature and swab specimens should be sent in viral transport media.


Specimens must be received and cultured in the laboratory within 7 days postcollection. 


Specimens for viral culture should be transported to the laboratory as soon as possible for optimal recovery.

Necessary Information

Specimen source is required.

Specimen Required Defines the optimal specimen. This field describes the type of specimen required to perform the test and the preferred volume to complete testing. The volume allows automated processing, fastest throughput and, when indicated, repeat or reflex testing.

Specimen Type: Lower respiratory tract specimens such as bronchoalveolar lavage, bronchial washings or aspirates, tracheal aspirates or secretions, pleural fluid, nasal swab or washing or sputum

Container/Tube: Sterile container

Specimen Volume: 1 mL



Nasopharyngeal Swab (Rayon Mini-Tip swab) (T515)

M5 Media (T484)

Specimen Type: Nasopharynx 

Specimen Volume: Entire collection

Collection Instructions:

1. Collect specimen by swabbing back and forth over mucosa surface to maximize recovery of cells.

2. Place swab into M5 media (T484) or other transport media.



Culturette (BBL Culture Swab) (T092)

M5 Media (T484)

Swab, Sterile Polyester (T507)

Specimen Type: Throat


Preferred: BBL CultureSwab (T092)

Acceptable: Dacron-tipped swab with plastic handle (T507)

Specimen Volume: Swab

Collection Instructions: Place swab into M5 media (T484) or other transport media.


Supplies: M5 Media (T484)

Specimen Type: Tissue

Sources: Lung and others
Sterile container with 1 to 2 mL of sterile saline or M5 transport media (T484)

Specimen Volume: Entire collection



Swab, Sterile Polyester (T507)

M5 Media (T484)

Specimen Type: Oral

Container/Tube: Dacron-tipped swab with plastic handle (T507)

Specimen Volume: Swab

Collection Instructions: Place swab into M5 media (T484) or other transport media.


If not ordering electronically, complete, print, and send a Microbiology Test Request Form (T244) with the specimen (http://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com/it-mmfiles/microbiology_test_request_form.pdf).

Specimen Minimum Volume The amount of sample necessary to provide a clinically relevant result as determined by the Laboratory.


Reject Due To Identifies specimen types and conditions that may cause the specimen to be rejected








Gel swab, E-swab, swab with wooden handle

Specimen Stability Information Provides a description of the temperatures required to transport a specimen to the laboratory. Alternate acceptable temperatures are also included.

Specimen TypeTemperatureTime
VariesRefrigerated7 days