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J Clin Microbiol. 2012 Mar;50(3):1064-5. doi: 10.1128/JCM.06551-11. Epub 2012 Jan 11.

Evaluation of swabs, transport media, and specimen transport conditions for optimal detection of viruses by PCR.

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  • 1Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory, North Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


Depletion of swabs and viral transport medium during epidemics may prompt the use of unvalidated alternatives. Swabs collected and transported dry or in saline were compared to commercially available swab/medium combinations for PCR detection of influenza, enterovirus, herpes simplex virus, and adenovirus. Each was detected at an ambient temperature (22°C) and 4°C for 7 days. Detection of influenza on dry or saline swabs is important because of its capacity to cause outbreaks involving large numbers of cases.

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