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UW Health SMPH
American Family Children's Hospital

UW Hospital and Clinics Lab Test Directory

Test Name: MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome)

Test Code(s): MISC / RMISC

Methodology: PCR

Testing Site: Testing will be sent to an approved reference laboratory.

Specimen Requirements

Patient Preparation: For sputum collection: Have patient rinse mouth with water and then expectorate deep cough sputum directly into a sterile, leak-proof, screw-cap specimen cup.

Collection Instructions: 1) All requests for MERS must be approved by the Wisconsin Department of Public Health (WDPH) before WSLH will perform testing.
2) BEFORE COLLECTION of specimen(s) in suspected case of MERS,ordering source contact WDPH at 608-267-9003 After hours call 608-258-0099 (WDPH answering service) and ask for the Communicable Disease Person On Call.
3) Once approved, WDPH will contact UWHC Infection Control at UWHC paging 608-265-7000, pager number 2570 and the UWHC Clinical Labs (608-263-7060).
4) UWHC lab will inform WSLH a specimen will be submitted.
5) Provider will enter order(s) in Health Link as RMISC and indicate as a comment: MERS-CoV PCR to WSLH.
6) UWHC Client Services will contact provider and send provider a WSLH Enhanced Surveillance Form to be completed.
To increase the likelihood of detecting MERS-CoV, CDC recommends collection of specimens from multiple sites such as a lower repiratory tract specimen plus NP swab. A Health Link order is required for each specimen site. Preferred specimen: lower respiratory tract specimens such as induced sputum, BAL, bronchial wash or tracheal aspirate. Collect 2-3 mL into a sterile, leak-proof, screw top container.
Secondary specimen: Nasopharyngeal swab.
Use only synthetic fiber swab with plastic shaft. DO NOT use calcium alginate swab or swab with wooden shaft, as they have substances that inactivate viruses and inhibit PCR testing. Insert swab in to a nostril parallel to the palate. Leave swab in place for a few seconds to absorb specimen. Swab both NP areas. Place swab immediately into viral transport media.

Specimen Processing: Refrigerate specimen at 2-8C for up to 72 hours. If specimen must be stored > 72 hours, freeze at -70C and ship on dry ice.


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