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Test Code VIRNR Viral Culture, Non-Respiratory

Reporting Name

Viral Culture, Non Respiratory

Useful For

Diagnosing viral infections in nonrespiratory specimens

Performing Laboratory

Mayo Medical Laboratories in Rochester

Specimen Type


Advisory Information

Source-based recommendations for testing:

Dermal specimens: Leg, arm, skin, axilla, etc:

Order LHSV / Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), Molecular Detection, PCR and/or LVZV / Varicella-Zoster Virus, Molecular, Detection, PCR or LHSVZ / Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) and Varicella-Zoster Virus (VZV), Molecular Detection, PCR


Genital specimens: Cervical, endocervical, genital, labia, penis, perianal, scrotum, vaginal

Order LHSV / Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), Molecular Detection, PCR


Oral specimens: Gum, lip, mouth, palate, tongue, tonsil, parotid, buccal

Order VRESP / Viral Culture, Respiratory


Respiratory specimens: Bronchoalveolar lavage, bronchial wash, lung, lung tissue, nasal swab, nasal wash, sputum, throat swab, tracheal aspirate

Order VRESP / Viral Culture, Respiratory


Infectious agent-based recommendations for testing:

If cytomegalovirus (CMV) is suspected in bone marrow or urine specimens, order LCMV / Cytomegalovirus (CMV), Molecular Detection, PCR


If herpes simplex virus (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

Specimen Type: Body fluid

Sources: Pericardial, peritoneal, amniotic

Container/Tube: Sterile container

Specimen Volume: 1 mL



Swab, Sterile Polyester (T507)

M4-RT (T605)

Specimen Type: Rectal

Container/Tube: Multimicrobe media (M4-RT) (T605)

Specimen Volume: Swab

Collection Instructions: Place swab back into multimicrobe media (M4-RT, M4, or M5).


Specimen Type: Spinal fluid

Container/Tube: Sterile vial

Specimen Volume: 1 mL


Supplies: Stool Collection Kit, Random (T635)

Specimen Type: Stool

Container/Tube: Sterile container

Specimen Volume: 5-10 g


Supplies: M4-RT (T605)

Specimen Type: Tissue

Sources: Brain, colon, kidney, liver, etc.

Container/Tube: Sterile container containing 1 mL to 2 mL of sterile saline or multimicrobe medium (M4-RT, M4, or M5).

Specimen Volume: Entire collection



Swab, Sterile Polyester (T507)

M4-RT (T605)

Specimen Type: Dermal (for enterovirus only)

Container/Tube: Multimicrobe media (M4-RT) (T605)

Specimen Volume: Swab

Collection Instructions:

1. Place swab in M4-RT (T605) or other viral transport media (M4 or M5).

2. Clearly label "enterovirus" to ensure proper handling and test setup.

Specimen Minimum Volume

Body Fluid or Spinal Fluid: 1 mL
Stool: 5 g
Urine: 0.5 mL
Tissue Biopsy: 5 mm

Specimen Stability Information

Specimen Type Temperature Time
Varies Refrigerated 7 days

Reference Values


If positive, virus is identified.

Day(s) and Time(s) Performed

Monday through Sunday; Varies

Test Classification

This test uses a standard method. Its performance characteristics were determined by Mayo Clinic in a manner consistent with CLIA requirements. This test has not been cleared or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

CPT Code Information

87252-Viral culture, non-respiratory

87176-Tissue processing (if appropriate)

87253-Additional testing virus, identification (if appropriate)

87254-Viral smear, shell vial (if appropriate)

LOINC Code Information

Test ID Test Order Name Order LOINC Value
VIRNR Viral Culture, Non Respiratory 6584-7


Result ID Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
VIRNR Viral Culture, Non Respiratory 6584-7

Clinical Information

Viruses are responsible for a broad spectrum of clinical symptoms and diseases. The most commonly isolated viruses are adenovirus, cytomegalovirus (CMV), enteroviruses, herpes simplex virus (HSV), and varicella-zoster virus (VZV).


Many viral infections (eg, HSV, CMV, VZV) can now be treated with antiviral drugs. Early laboratory diagnosis by isolation is very helpful in the medical management of these patients.


Viruses that are detected in cell culture include: adenovirus, CMV, enterovirus, HSV, and VZV.


Viruses that are not detected in cell culture include: Epstein-Barr virus, rubella virus (must order serology), West Nile virus, human papillomavirus, Norwalk virus or norovirus.


A positive result indicates that virus was present in the specimen submitted. Clinical correlation is necessary to determine the significance of this finding.


Negative results may be seen in a number of situations including absence of viral disease, inability of the virus to grow in culture (examples of organisms not detected by this culture test include Epstein-Barr virus, rubella virus, papilloma, and Norwalk virus), and nonviable organisms submitted.


For patients with diarrhea, see Parasitic Investigation of Stool Specimens Algorithm in Special Instructions for other diagnostic tests that may be useful.

Clinical Reference

1. Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute 2005. Viral Culture. Proposed Guideline. CLSI document M41-P. Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute, Wayne, PA

2. Ginocchio CC, Harris PC: Chapter 17: Reagents, stains, and cell culture: Virology. In Manual of Clinical Microbiology. 10th edition. Edited by J Versalovic, KC Carroll, et al. Washington, DC, ASM Press, 2011, pp 1289-1296

3. Smith TF: Antibody-enhanced detection of viruses in cell cultures. In Manual of Clinical Laboratory Immunology. Fifth edition. Edited by NR Rose, EC de Marcio, JD Folds, et al. Washington, DC, ASM Press, 1997, pp 618-624

Analytic Time

14 days

Reject Due To








Gel swab, swab with wood handle, E-swab

Testing Algorithm

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


Blood, lymph node tissue, and bone marrow/bone tissue specimens are not good sources for viral culture and are frequently toxic to cell culture lines. Most molecular methods are appropriate for these specimen types (exception: bone tissue). See individual real-time PCR assay descriptions.


Testing information pertaining to specific sources:

Dermal specimens are only acceptable for enterovirus. Clearly indicate "Enterovirus" on test request.


Ocular fluids (vitreous and aqueous): viral culture is not recommended due to usually inadequate volumes. PCR testing is recommended. See individual real-time PCR assay descriptions.


Genital, synovial fluid, wound swab or tissue (includes pus, drainage, or abscess fluid) specimens are not acceptable for viral culture.

Method Name

Cell Culture

Shell Vial Assay for Herpes Simplex Virus or Cytomegalovirus

Secondary ID



If not ordering electronically, complete, print, and send a Microbiology Test Request Form (T244) with the specimen (

Reflex Tests

Test ID Reporting Name Available Separately Always Performed
TISSR Tissue Processing No, (Bill Only) No
VID2 Additional Testing Virus Ident No, (Bill Only) No
SVIR Viral Smear, Shell Vial No, (Bill Only) No