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Utah Public Health Laboratory

Middle East Respiratory Virus Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

Fee: Please refer to fee schedule

Ordering Recommendation

The Middle East Respiratory Virus Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) PCR is a qualitative detection of MERS-CoV RNA in respiratory specimens from patients with signs and symptoms of MERS-CoV infection in conjunction with clinical and epidemiological risk factors. Prior to submitting specimen, testing must be approved by UDOH Epidemiology at (801)538-6191 or 1(888) EPI-UTAH.


Monday – Friday as required.


Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)


1-2 days

Specimen Required

  • Collect:Nasopharyngeal swabs, oropharyngeal swabs, sputum, lower respiratory tract aspirates/washes, and serum.
  • Specimen Preparation:Swabs must be placed in Viral Transport media. The following may be placed in a sterile collection container: sputum, lower respiratory tract aspirates/washes, and serum
  • Storage/Transport Conditions:Keep at 2 – 8 oC for up to 48 hours after collection. If a delay is expected store specimens at -70 oC
  • Unacceptable Conditions: Calcium alginate or cotton swabs, swabs with wooden shaft, or dry swabs.
  • Remarks: A minimum specimen volume of 500µl is required for testing.
  • Stability: Samples must be received at UPHL within 48 hours of collection. If it is not possible to transport specimens within 48 hours of collection, specimens may be frozen at < -70oC and transported on dry ice.


Detected, Not Detected, Equivocal

Interpretive Data

MERS-CoV RNA not detected by rRT-PCR.

MERS-CoV RNA detected by rRT-PCR. Confirmatory testing required. Specimen will be referred to CDC for further analysis.

MERS-CoV rRT-PCR testing was equivocal. Additional analysis may be conducted by CDC.


Specimen testing requires pre-authorization by the UDOH Epidemiology.

Cross References