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Viral Transport Media (M4RT)

Specimen Guidelines

Viral Transport Media (M4RT)

Some samples can be submitted, without utilizing a transport media, with a reasonable expectation of virus viability. Specimens in this category include, sterile fluids such as cerebrospinal fluid, pleural fluid, blood, urine, as well as some nonsterile specimens such as bronchoalveolar lavage, and feces. Whenever there is a question of stability, the specimen should be placed in a suitable virus transport media such as M4RT. Refer to specific test in the alphabetical test list of this User's Guide for more information.

  1. Tissue and biopsy material can be placed directly into the viral transport media. Each sample need not be more than 1-2 cm in diameter.

  2. Abscess material, bullae, pustules, vesicles, lesions, and skin scrapings can be collected on the swab and placed directly into viral transport media. If the material has been aspirated, place no more than 3 ml (equal to the amount of transport media) in the vial of M4RT.

  3. CSF should be submitted in a sterile container.

  4. Urine should be submitted in a sterile container.

  5. Rectal swab should be submitted in M4RT.

  6. Blood should be submitted in a Heparin tube.

  7. Swabs that are made of calcium alginate and wood are known to interfere with the recovery of some viruses. These can also act as PCR inhibitors and are not appropriate for this type of testing.

  8. For CMV colitis, culture of biopsy tissue is preferred.  Stool is frequently toxic to cultured cells and virus is infrequently recovered from this source.

  9. Mumps: Acceptable specimens for culture include buccal swab after parotid gland massage and urine.