Viral Culture, Respiratory
Ordering Recommendation

Detects common respiratory viruses as well as HSV and VZV. Molecular methods may offer improved sensitivity. Respiratory Viruses Rapid Culture (2001504) offers faster turnaround time.

Cell Culture
3-14 days
New York DOH Approval Status
This test is New York DOH approved.
Submit With Order
ARUP Consult®
Disease Topics
Specimen Required
Patient Preparation
Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), nasopharyngeal aspirate, swab, or washing, or tracheal aspirate, sputum, throat, tissue (lung, etc.). 
Specimen Preparation
Fluid: Transfer 3 mL specimen to a sterile container. (Min: 0.5 mL) Also acceptable: Transfer to 3 mL viral transport media (ARUP Supply #12884) available online through eSupply using ARUP Connect™ or contact ARUP Client Services at (800) 522-2787.
Swab or Tissue:
Place in 3 mL viral transport media (ARUP Supply #12884) available online through eSupply using ARUP Connect™ or contact ARUP Client Services at (800) 522-2787. 
Storage/Transport Temperature
Unacceptable Conditions
Calcium alginate, eSwab, dry, or wood swabs. 
Specimen source preferred. 
Ambient: 2 hours; Refrigerated: 72 hours; Frozen: Unacceptable 
Reference Interval
Interpretive Data
Refer to report.

Identification is billed separately from culture. Viruses that can be isolated by culture include: adenovirus; cytomegalovirus; enterovirus; herpes simplex virus; influenza A and B; parainfluenza types 1, 2, 3; RSV; and varicella-zoster virus.  However, virus-specific tests are recommended and are listed below.

The following test is standard-of-care for diagnosing Adenovirus infection in tissue specimens:
Adenovirus by Qualitative PCR (ARUP test code 2007473)

The following tests are recommended for detecting a specific virus in specimens other than CSF. If a specific virus is suspected, please indicate the virus on the test request.

Cytomegalovirus. Refer to Cytomegalovirus Rapid Culture (ARUP test code 0065004 ).
Human metapneumovirus (hMPV). hMPV can be detected by DFA staining or nucleic acid testing. Refer to Human Metapneumovirus by DFA (ARUP test code 0060779) and Respiratory Viruses DFA (ARUP test code 0060289), or Human Metapneumovirus by RT-PCR (ARUP test code 0060784).
Measles virus. Refer to Measles (Rubeola) Virus Culture (ARUP test code 0065055).
Mumps virus. Refer to Mumps Virus Culture (ARUP test code 0065056).
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Refer to Respiratory Syncytial Virus DFA (ARUP test code 0060288 ).
Varicella-zoster virus. Refer to Varicella-Zoster Virus DFA with Reflex to Varicella-Zoster Virus Culture (ARUP test code 0060282).
Hotline History
CPT Code(s)
87252; if definitive identification performed, add 87253
Component Test Code*Component Chart NameLOINC
2006499Viral Culture, Respiratory6584-7
* Component test codes cannot be used to order tests. The information provided here is not sufficient for interface builds; for a complete test mix, please click the sidebar link to access the Interface Map.
  • Adenovirus Culture
  • CMV culture
  • Culture for virus
  • cytomegalovirus
  • enterovirus
  • herpes simplex virus
  • HSV culture
  • influenza A and B
  • parainfluenza types 1, 2, 3
  • RSV culture
  • varicella-zoster virus
  • VSV culture