IMPORTANT! Pre-approval needed from state or local health department. Local or State Health Department. Send approval to or call (402) 559-9444.

NPHL has moved to an electronic ordering system, NUlirt, and it is now the preferred method to order all tests. Once ordered, print a "batch list" (see NUlirt Guide).

Forms Required - Nulirt batch list or NPHL Test Request Form (completed in entirety) must accompany the specimen to include the following information: symptoms and date of onset, pregnancy status, travel and vaccine history. Testing will not be performed without all required information.

Please call NPHL Client Services at (402) 559-2440 or toll free at (800) 334-0459 for further clarification.


Test: Smallpox
  • Contact NPHL emergency pager (402) 888-5588
  • Variola, Variola virus, Orthopox, Orthopoxvirus, Small pox
  • CDC Laboratory Response Network methods
  • Monday-Friday
  • Turnaround time 1-7 days
  • Vesical fluid
  • Skin
  • Crust
  • Dry or wet swab of lesion (dry is preferred)
  • Touch prep (slide) of lesion/vesical fluid
  • Fresh biopsy (NO FORMALIN)
Collection Device:
  • Viral transport media may be added to swabs
  • Seal with Parafilm™ or tape
  • Test subject to CLIA regulations and requires 2 patient identfiers on container and requisition forms
  • Requested volume for liquid clinical samples: 1 mL
  • Minimum volume for liquid clinical samples: 0.5 mL
  • Swabs collected in inapproprate transport media (univeral transport media, M4 viral transport medium, etc)
  • Leaking container
  • Inappropriate specimen type
  • Insufficient volume
Specimen Stability:
  • Freeze or refrigerate promply after collection
  • Store frozen dry swabs up to 60 days
  • Store frozen crusts and swabs in transport media up to 30 days
  • Freezing strongly recommended, however if no freezer available, refrigerate samples for up to 7 days
Reference Interval:  
Reportable Disease:  
  • Contact NPHL emergency pager before sending specimen (402) 888-5588
Revised: 4/19/2024 
If you have questions about proper specimen collection, please call NPHL Client Services at (402) 559-2440 or toll free at (800) 334-0459.