Influenza Virus RNA Detection (FLUPCR)  

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: Influenza Virus RNA Detection
Synonym: Flu PCR or RT-PCR, Influenza Confirmation, FLUPCR  
  • Qualitative nucleic acid amplified real time RT-PCR assay
  • Pre-approval needed from state or local health department
  • Send approval to or call (402) 559-9444
  • Order FLUPCR in NUlirt
  • Performed Monday - Friday
  • Turnaround time - 7 days
  • Upper Respiratory Tract:
    • posterior-pharyngeal swab
    • nasopharyngeal or nasal swab
    • nasal aspirate, or nasal wash
  • Lower Respiratory Tract:
    • tracheal aspirate,
    • bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL),
    • bronchial washes,
    • endotracheal aspirate
    • endotracheal wash
    • sputum
    • lung tissue. 

Collection Device:
  • Human respiratory specimens in Viral Transport Media (VTM)
  • Seal with Parafilm™ or tape
  • Test subject to CLIA regulations and required 2 patient identifiers on specimen container and requisition forms
  • Collect 2-3 mL from nasopharygeal wash (using normal saline) or BAL



  • NUlirt packing list or appropriate paperwork (completed in entirety) must accompany specimens.
Unacceptable: Slides, smears; unacceptable sources; Sputum, tracheal aspirates, or throat swabs or samples collected in non-viral transport media or using a bacterial culture swab; dry swabs; wood shaft or calcium alginate swabs; samples collected in EIA or extracted transport media.  
Specimen Stability:
  • Stable at 2-8° C for 72 hours
  • Frozen 1 month
Reference Interval:  
Reportable Disease:  
  • A false negative result may occur if a specimen is improperly collectec, transported, or handled
  • False negative results may also occur if amplification inhibitors are present in the specimen or if inadequate numbers of organims are present in the specimen
Revised: 4/2/2024 
If you have questions about proper specimen collection, please call NPHL Client Services at (402) 559-2440 or toll free at (800) 334-0459.