In This Section

Available Tests

  • Influenza Virus: Rapid PCR

Influenza Virus: Rapid PCR

Specimen Type: Lawson# 050750

Rapid Influenza PCR

(If Influenza and RSV testing are both required: see Rapid RSV, FLU PCR)

For General Information, see also: Testing for respiratory viruses at UNC McLendon Laboratories

  • Rapid antigen testing and viral culture are not available. The sensitivity of rapid antigen testing for 2009 H1N1 is as low as 10%. Point-of-care rapid antigen testing should NOT be used in community practices to diagnose influenza.
  • Nasopharyngeal swab specimen (not nasal) specimens should be collected within 5 days of symptoms for optimal sensitivity.
Specimen Type: Lawson# 050750
Respiratory Viral Panel Swab

EPIC Order
Rapid Influenza PCR
CPT Code(s) 87502
Group/Individual Test Group
Laboratory Clinical Microbiology; 984-974-1805 and Hillsborough Hospital Lab; 984-215-2175
Tube Station 82
Specimen Routine:
Nasopharyngeal(NP) flocked swab is the preferred specimen (see photo above).
Flocked swabs are the preferred collection device (included in the BD Universal Viral Transport Kit) and are available from Central Distribution (Lawson #050750).
Click here for swab ordering information.
See Comments for additional information
NOTE: NASAL SWABS ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE AND MAY LEAD TO FALSE NEGATIVE RESULTS. Remel M4 and Remel M4RT transport media should not be used for this assay.
See NP swab collection video if needed
Availability Routine: 7 days a week/24 hours a day
STAT: 7 days a week/24 hours a day
Turnaround Time 60 min (from time specimen received in the lab)
Reference Range Normal:

  • Store and Transport at 2-8 °C, if not immediately tubed to the lab.
  • Note: False-positive Influenza RNA tests are associated with the administration of FluMist, an intranasally-administered influenza vaccine. Individuals receiving this vaccine may shed influenza RNA for up to 3-weeks post-vaccination.
  • For detection of multiple viruses see Respiratory Pathogen Panel.
  • Sensitivity and Specificity of the Rapid Influenza PCR vs. the Rapid RSV/Influenza Combo PCR vs. the Respiratory Pathogen Panel is available at Testing for respiratory viruses at UNC McLendon Laboratories.
  • This assay detects both Influenza A & B viral RNA. This test does not report typing for 2009 H1N1. Any questions regarding avian influenza or other novel influenza viruses should be directed to Dr. Melissa Miller, Director of Molecular Microbiology at 984-974-1820.
  • For information concerning resistance to Influenza Antiviral Medications, visit
  • To view the current local distribution of respiratory viruses, including influenza please visit the Flu Surveillance Reports.
  • For CDC Weekly Reports visit:

Reviewed by jcayless on December 02, 2019

Note: Reference ranges provided on this web site are for guidance only, and may not reflect the most recent changes. Refer to laboratory reports for current reference data.

UNC Hospitals
McLendon Clinical Laboratories
101 Manning Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27514