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​For the detection of avian influenza A/H7N9 in patients with severe respiratory infection and travel to or residence in a country where avian influenza A/H7N9 has been detected. The influenza multiplex PCR test must be ordered with this test.

Specimen Required

a) Throat / nasopharyngeal swabs : Use only Dacron / rayon-tipped dry swabs with plastic shafts or flocked swabs. Send dry in the swab sheath or in a dry sterile screw-capped container. Laryngeal swabs will be rejected.

b) Sputum

c) In addition, the following specimens from invasive procedures can be taken: - bronchoalveolar lavage - endotracheal tube aspirate. These specimens are to be sent in screw-capped sterile containers without adding viral transport media.

Paste red bioharzard alert stickers on clinical sample bags for SGH inpatients.

Storage and Transport

​Refrigerate sample until transfer to laboratory. Do not freeze. Send sample at 2 - 8°C (with an ice-pack). Sample must reach laboratory within 24 hours after collection.

Please contact Molecular Laboratory (63266920) before sending sample.


​Reverse-transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (In-house Real-time)

Test Results

​Detected, Not detected or Inconclusive

Reference Interval / Value

Turnaround Time

​Urgent SGH inpatient cases only: 6 hours (requires approval of microbiologist)
Routine cases: Next working day

Patient samples for urgent/stat testing must be from patients who meet MOH criteria of a suspect case.
These must be ordered by an infectious diseases physician and discussed with a Molecular Laboratory microbiologist.

Day(s) Test Set up

​Mondays to Saturdays


​In addition to standard precautions, strict barrier precautions are required in the collection of respiratory samples from patients suspected to be infected with avian influenza A/H7N9. This includes the use of personal protective equipment like gloves, gowns and apron, safety eyewear and powered air purifying respirators (PAPR) or N95 masks.

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