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Test ID RSVQL Respiratory Syncytial Virus, RNA, Qualitative Detection, Varies

Ordering Guidance

Due to the nonspecific clinical presentation of COVID-19, influenza A, influenza B, and respiratory syncytial virus infection during the early stages of flu-like illness, concurrent testing for these 4 respiratory tract viral pathogens may be warranted.


For the most up-to-date testing recommendations, visit:

Shipping Instructions

Ship specimens refrigerated (if less than 72 hours from collection to arrive at Mayo Clinic Laboratories [MCL]) or frozen (if greater or equal to 72 hours from collection to arrive at MCL).

Specimen Required

Specimen Type: Nasopharyngeal (NP), oropharyngeal (OP ie, throat), nasal mid-turbinate, or nares/nasal swab


-Swab, Sterile Polyester, 10 per package (T507)

-Dacron-tipped swab with plastic shaft is acceptable

Container/Tube: Universal transport media, viral transport media, or equivalent (eg, Copan UTM-RT, BD VTM, MicroTest M4, M4-RT, M5)

Note: Media should not contain guanidine thiocyanate (GTC).

For more information on acceptable transport media, see

Specimen Volume: Entire specimen with a minimum of 1.5 mL (maximum 3 mL) of transport media.

Collection Instructions:

1. Collect specimen by swabbing back and forth over nasal or pharyngeal mucosa surface to maximize recovery of cells. For more information on OP swab specimen collection, see COVID-19 Oropharyngeal Collection Instructions.

2. NP and OP swab specimens may be combined at collection into a single vial of transport media but only one swab is required for analysis.

3. Swab must be placed into transport medium. Swab shaft should be broken or cut so that there is no obstruction to the sample or pressure on the media container cap.

4. Do not send in glass tubes, vacutainer tubes, or tubes with push caps.

5. Do not overfill with more than 3 mL total volume of media.


Specimen Type: Nasopharyngeal aspirate or nasal washings

Container/Tube: Sterile container

Specimen Volume: Minimum of 1.5 mL

Additional Information: Do not aliquot into viral transport media, glass tubes, vacutainer tubes, or tubes with push caps.


Specimen Type: Lower respiratory tract

Sources: Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid, bronchial washings, endotracheal aspirate, sputum

Container/Tube: Sterile container

Specimen Volume: Minimum of 1.5 mL

Additional Information: Do not aliquot into viral transport media, glass tubes, vacutainer tubes, or tubes with push caps.

Useful For

Detection of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in upper or lower respiratory tract specimens from individuals at risk for RSV infection with flu-like illness


See following website on indications and recommendations for testing:

Method Name

Real-Time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR)

Reporting Name


Specimen Type


Specimen Minimum Volume

See Specimen Required

Specimen Stability Information

Specimen Type Temperature Time Special Container
Varies Frozen (preferred) 14 days
  Refrigerated  72 hours

Clinical Information

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is an infectious pathogen that infects the human respiratory tract causing an influenza-like illness. Most healthy people spontaneously recover from RSV infection in 1 to 2 weeks, but infection can be severe in infants, young children, and older adults. The virus is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia in children under 1 year of age in the United States. .It is recognized increasingly as a frequent cause of respiratory illnesses in older adults.


RSV can be detected by polymerase chain reaction in upper and lower respiratory tract specimens. Nasopharyngeal swabs or aspirates are the preferred specimen types for detection of RSV RNA. Nasal swabs may not yield as high detection rate as those of nasopharyngeal specimens for molecular detection of RSV RNA. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, bronchial washings, endotracheal aspirate, and sputum are suitable specimens for detection of RSV infection of the lower respiratory tract.

Reference Values



A "Detected" result indicates that respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) RNA is present and suggests the presence of RSV infection in the symptomatic patient.


An "Undetected" result indicates that RSV RNA is absent in the patient's specimen.


An "Inconclusive" result indicates that the presence or absence of RSV RNA in the specimen could not be determined with certainty after repeat testing in the laboratory, possibly due to inhibition of polymerase chain reaction from interfering substances present in the respiratory tract specimen. Submission of a new specimen for testing is recommended when clinically indicated.

Clinical Reference

1. Mammas IN, Drysdale SB, Rath B, et al: Update on current views and advances on RSV infection (review). Int J Mol Med. 2020; Aug;46(2):509-520

2. Griffiths C, Drews SJ, Marchant DJ: Respiratory syncytial virus: infection, detection, and new options for prevention and treatment. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2017; Jan;30(1):277-319

3. Hall CB, Simoes EAF, Anderson LJ: Clinical and epidemiologic features of respiratory syncytial virus. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2013;372:39-57

4. National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Respiratory syncytial virus infection (RSV). Updated December 2020. Accessed September 8, 2022. Available at

Day(s) Performed

Tuesday, Friday

Report Available

1 to 7 days

Test Classification

This test was developed, and its performance characteristics determined by Mayo Clinic in a manner consistent with CLIA requirements. This test has not been cleared or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

CPT Code Information


LOINC Code Information

Test ID Test Order Name Order LOINC Value
RSVQL RSV RNA PCR Detect, V 85479-4


Result ID Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
616200 RSV RNA PCR 85479-4
RSVQS RSV Specimen Source 31208-2