Specimen Protocol: Outbreak Norovirus specimens are processed at California State Public Health laboratories. They are currently charging for this service. In the event of a facility or regional outbreak, State laboratories are prepared to process specimens rapidly and are able to track the progress of outbreaks throughout the State. If a Norovirus Outbreak is suspected, MuirLab will courier the specimens to our nearest Public Health laboratory. The following protocol must be observed: (a) The word "OUTBREAK" must be written boldly and clearly on the requisition. (b) To collect for Norovirus: use a sterile collection cup. A Cary Blair container is acceptable, but not recommended. If using a Cary Blair, be sure to check the expiration date. (c) Label specimen fully and accurately: Patient's Full Name, Date of Birth, Date, and Time of Collection. (d) Bag specimens individually: only ONE specimen and ONE test per requisition. (e) Storage: Norovirus specimens must be refrigerated. Specimens more than 72-hours old will be rejected. Call MuirLab at 800-677-4525. Inform the Client Service Representative that there is a possible Norovirus Outbreak in your facility and Outbreak specimens are ready for pick-up. Note: If you are calling for a pickup after your routine courier has left your facility, you may be billed for STAT services.
Specimen Process: Once your specimens have been picked up, two scenarios are possible:
- Your suspected Norovirus Outbreak specimens are transported to the Public Health Lab nearest MuirLab. Processing time at the State Lab is approximately 48 - 72 hours after receipt of the specimens.
When multiple norovirus specimens are received from the same facility, the Public Health Lab may discontinue testing for that facility when the number of tests needed to confirm an outbreak is reached. For example: when a second person's specimen tests positive, testing for norovirus for your facility may end and the rest of the specimens discarded.
- If a specimen is NOT labeled as part of an "OUTBREAK", MuirLab will process the specimen. Results will be available in approximately 5-7 days after receipt of the specimen.
Public Health Laboratories are generally closed on weekends and holidays. Specimens collected on a weekend or holiday will be picked up the next business day. If there is a concern that the facility cannot ensure the specimen's integrity, a MuirLab courier will be dispatched to pick up the specimen and bring it back to MuirLab where it will be stored until it can be delivered to the Public Health Lab. Please note: If the specimen is more than 72-hours old on the day of delivery, the Public Health Lab will reject it.