Test Catalog

Test ID: VRID2    
Culture Referred for Identification, Virus

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Viral identification and confirmation

Testing Algorithm Delineates situations when tests are added to the initial order. This includes reflex and additional tests.

When this test is ordered, the reflex tests may be performed and charged.

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

Viruses are responsible for a broad spectrum of clinical symptoms and diseases. The most commonly isolated viruses are adenovirus, cytomegalovirus (CMV), enteroviruses, herpes simplex virus (HSV), influenza virus, parainfluenza virus (types 1-3), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and varicella-zoster virus (VZV).


Some viral infections can be treated with antiviral drugs. Early laboratory diagnosis by isolation may be helpful in the medical management of these patients.


Viruses that may be recovered in cell culture include adenovirus, CMV, enterovirus, HSV, VZV, RSV, influenza virus, and parainfluenza virus. HSV and enterovirus are the most commonly recovered viruses.


A number of viruses are not routinely detected in cell culture. These include Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), rubella virus (must order serology), human papillomavirus (HPV), Norwalk or norovirus, and West Nile virus.

Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.

Not applicable

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

A positive result indicates that virus was present in the specimen submitted. Clinical correlation is necessary to determine the significance of the result.


Negative results may be seen in a number of situations including absence of viral disease, inability of the virus to grow in culture (examples of organisms not detected by culture include Epstein-Barr virus, rubella virus, human papilloma virus, norovirus and West Nile virus), and nonviable organisms submitted. Parainfluenza virus type 4 also may not be detected by viral culture.

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

Viral isolation and detection depends on the proper collection and transport of the specimen.


Some viruses (eg, cytomegalovirus) take up to 2 weeks to grow in viral cell culture. Molecular tests (ie, real-time PCR) should be used for rapid diagnosis.

Clinical Reference Recommendations for in-depth reading of a clinical nature

1. Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI). Viral Culture. Proposed Guideline. 2005 CLSI document M41-P. CLSI, Wayne, PA

2. Ginocchio CC, Van Horn G, Harris PC: In Manual of Clinical Microbiology. Chapter 80: Reagents, stains, and cell culture: virology. 11th edition. Edited by J Versalovic, KC Carroll, et al. Washington, DC, ASM Press, 2015, pp 1422-1431

Special Instructions Library of PDFs including pertinent information and forms related to the test