Contact Information
Los Angeles County
Department of Public Health
Public Health Laboratory
12750 Erickson Avenue
Downey, California 90242

Laboratory Director
Nicole M. Green, Ph.D, D (ABMM)
Phone: (562) 658-1300
Fax: (562) 401-5999

Assistant Laboratory Director
Peera Hemarajata, MD, PhD, D (ABMM)
Phone: (562) 658-1330
Fax: (562) 401-5999

Monday - Friday
8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
8:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Testing for Influenza A, B and/or Other Respiratory Viruses by Real-Time PCR

Testing Information

The Los Angeles County Public Health Laboratory (LAC-PHL) will only be accepting specimens for influenza virus testing meeting the following criteria:

  • Hospitalized Influenza Like Illness (ILI) patient

  • Fatal cases of Influenza Like Illness (ILI)

  • Contact to confirmed case of novel or variant influenza

  • ILI with recent swine exposure

  • Outbreaks or cluster of cases with ILI

  • Designated surveillance sites

Reference Examination for Influenza A and B and/or Other Respiratory Viruses test request form must accompany each submission. Refer to Test Request below.

Testing Algorithm:

Specimens from the above criteria, other than designated surveillance sites, will be initially tested for presence of Influenza A & B viruses by rt RT- PCR

  • If Influenza A virus is detected: sub-typing to identify Influenza A H1N1 (seasonal), Influenza A 2009 A H1N1 (A/H1pdm09) - formerly pandemic, Influenza A H3N2 (seasonal) and presumptive variant Influenza A H3N2v will be performed.

  • If no Influenza A or B virus is detected and specimen is from naso-pharyngeal source, Luminex xTag RVP* will be performed.

  • Specimen sources other than naso-pharyngeal will only be tested for Influenza A (seasonal and pdm09), Influenza A subtypes; H1 (seasonal and 2009 H1) and H3 (seasonal and H3N2v) and Influenza B viruses.

  • For fatal cases and specific case request; If no virus detected by a PCR method, respiratory viral culture will be performed.

  • Note: ONLY naso-pharyngeal specimens will be tested by Luminex xTag RVP.

* Respiratory Viral Targets included in xTag RVP: Respiratory Syncytial Virus’s (RSV) A&B, Influenza A (non-specific), Influenza A subtypes H1 & H3, Influenza B, Parainfluenza’s 1, 2, & 3, Human metapneumovirus, rhinovirus and adenovirus.

Collection of Specimens and Storage:

Specimen Collection:

  • Specimens should be collected within the first 24-72 hours of symptom onset and no later than 4 days after symptom onset. Personnel collecting clinical specimens should follow CDC safety guidelines.

  • Each specimen must be labeled with:

    • Date of collection, specimen type, patient name and other unique identifier.

Respiratory Specimens:

  • Collect a naso-pharyngeal specimen using a Dacron-tipped or nylon flocked swab.
  • Place the swabs in viral transport medium. Gel-based transport media are not acceptable.
  • Please contact LAC-PHL for other specimen sources.

Specimen and Storage and Shipment:

  • Specimens should be kept refrigerated at 4ºC and sent on cold packs if they can be received by the laboratory within 72 hours of collection.

  • If specimens cannot be received by the laboratory within 72 hours of collection, specimens should be frozen at -70 ºC or below and transported on dry ice.

  • Specimens should be submitted per usual protocol to:

Los Angeles County Public Health Laboratory,
Attn: Molecular Epidemiology,
12750 Erickson Ave. Downey, CA 90242-3456
For courier assistance please call (562) 658-1341 or (562) 658-1460

  • For information regarding routine virus culture and identification, please refer to the Los Angeles County Public Health Laboratory (LAC-PHL) Virology Unit for submission and specimen criteria online at

Test Request:

  • A PHL Reference Examination for Influenza A and B and/or Other Respiratory Viruses test request form must accompany each submission. This form provides the PHL Influenza testing method algorithm, along with specimen collection and transport information and is available online at:

  • Please ensure that a completed form is submitted with all specimens. Testing may be delayed if the form is not submitted with the specimen or is incomplete. Hospitals and Community Health Centers with Sunquest direct or interface to the PHL Sunquest system must also include this form when requesting testing.

  • For Health Care Facilities with Sunquest direct test order access, please use test order code “FLUPCR” for INFLUENZA COMPREHENSIVE test request.

  • Reflex Testing - LUMINEX xTAG RESPIRATORY VIRAL PANEL MULTIPLEX PCR and / or Conventional Virus Culture, will be ordered and performed by LAC-PHL in accordance with above testing algorithm.

Result Reporting

  • For sites interfaced with LAC-PHL, results can be accessed in the SunQuest software.

  • Results can be faxed to approved submitters with an approved secure fax.

Home  |
Public Health Laboratory
Public Health
LA County
  Careers  |   DPH Programs  |   Email: Webmaster  | Notice of Privacy Practices | 
  Website Privacy Policy  |   Language  |   Accessibility  |   Disclaimer |   Employee  |
Admin Use
Outlook E-mail
DPH Intranet (At Work)
Los Angeles County Seal: Enriching lives through effective and caring services