West Nile Virus Testing

Guidelines for Submitting Human Samples for West Nile and Other Arbovirus Testing

Learn About West Nile


  1. Ideal timing of specimens is as follows:a) Acute serum should be collected 8-10 days after onset of symptoms. Acute serum samples collected too early after onset of symptoms may result in false negative results.b) Convalescent serum should be collected 2-3 weeks after the acute.
  2. Send 2-3 ml serum on cool packs. Serum separated from the red blood cells is preferred to prevent hemolysis.
  3. Standard blood collection tubes without anticoagulant should be used to collect the sample. (Red stopper, red/gray marble stopper, serum gel separator tubes)

Cerebrospinal Fluid

  1. Send 2-3 ml of Cerebrospinal fluid if available on cool packs. Do not freeze.
  2. Also send serum sample collected at the appropriate time. (see above)

Packaging and Shipping

  1. Send specimens properly packaged with absorbent material inside 2 plastic containers on cool packs.
  2. Specimens may be mailed or shipped by courier (i.e. UPS, Fed Ex). Areas that do not have next day mail service to Pierre should consider alternate shipping method.
  3. US Mail, UPS and Federal Express all deliver samples to the SDPHL Monday through Friday only.
  4. Please call the laboratory at 773-3368 before shipping specimens so test plates can be prepared.

Additional Information to Send with Specimens

  1. Travel history (0-4 weeks before onset of symptoms).
  2. Vaccination history (Yellow fever, Dengue, Japanese Encephalitis)
  3. Date of symptom onset.
  4. Collection date.
  5. Physician contact information.


CHARGE — $24

RESULT REPORTING — Positive results will be phoned to the physician/submitting agency.

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