Self-collected vaginal swabs may be used for STI testing as opposed to provider-collected swabs. Self-collected swabs are supported by current clinical guidelines as recent studies have shown their equivalence, if not superiority, in quality and their association with increased patient satisfaction.
NOTE: Self-collection must still take place in a healthcare setting and is not approved for at-home collection.
Test manufacturer supply chains continue to be disrupted due to COVID-19. Currently, there is a shortage of supplies for the Group B Streptococcus PCR test. Orders for this PCR test may continue to be placed, however, the SHRL Microbiology Department will perform a culture method until PCR supplies are available with appropriate charging and a reporting comment indicating that the culture was performed. The PCR test is normally resulted within 24-48 hours of specimen receipt in lab, whereas the culture method turnaround time may be 48-72 hours. An update will be posted when these PCR supplies are received, however, there may continue to be intermittent supply issues for this test. Additional test information can be found here.
Please refer to the below for Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) orders:
Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) PCR Testing Update
At this time when Influenza prevalence is not widespread in the community, please order “Influenza A/B PCR” [LAB3255] when testing is needed. This applies to patients at all Grand Rapids and regional hospitals, and also system wide ambulatory patients.
Effective May 18, 2020, Spectrum Health Regional Laboratory is pleased to be offering in-house COVID-19 serology testing, with initial availability 1,000 tests per day.
What is Serology Testing?
• Serology testing measures the body’s immune response to COVID-19 infection in the form of antibody production against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
• There is a single COVID-19 serology order available in Epic, however, the Spectrum Health laboratory performs two versions of antibody testing to increase specificity and avoid reporting false positive results. An initial screen will be used to measure total antibody (IgA, IgM, and IgG), and positives will be confirmed by a second method that is specific to IgG.
• Specificity is critical when the expected prevalence in a community is low. This serology testing is not expected to cross-react with other circulating coronaviruses that cause the common cold.
• A positive IgG result indicates previous infection with COVID-19, but does not indicate immunity or protection against future infection.
• This test should not be used to detect acute COVID-19 disease. Symptomatic patients suspected to have acute COVID-19 infection should be tested using a molecular assay.
• Whether positive or negative for the presence of COVID-19 antibodies, serology testing results do not support easing of behaviors such as social distancing, wearing masks, or hand hygiene.
Click on images for printable pdf version.
Clinical guidelines no longer recommend serologic testing as a method for the diagnosis of H. pylori infection. Rather than IgG serology testing, other non-invasive testing methods such as H. pylori stool antigen and urea breath tests may be used to both diagnose and monitor response to therapy for H. pylori infection. In anticipation of an increase in stool antigen testing, currently a reference lab send-out test, Spectrum Health Regional Laboratory (SHRL) will be implementing this test as of October 29, 2018. By offering this test in-house, results will typically be available one day faster than present state.
As of July 31, 2018, send out testing to Mayo Medical Laboratories for “Candida albicans Antibodies (IgG, IgA, IgM)” and “Candida Antigen Detection” will be discontinued.
To remain up to date with the scientific literature, microbiology must periodically update the official taxonomic nomenclature for organisms as published in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology (IJSEM). These updates also satisfy the laboratory’s accreditation checklist item MIC.11375 from the College of American Pathologists (CAP). Current organism classification is typically revised based on genetic relatedness among genera and species, as opposed to historical phenotypic biochemical characteristic studies.
Influenza is currently widespread throughout the nation at epidemic proportions. During influenza epidemics, clinical assessment predicts the presence of influenza infection virtually as well as laboratory testing. Therefore, it is no longer necessary to perform viral testing on ambulatory patients who present with illness consistent with influenza before beginning antiviral treatment. Antiviral treatment for Influenza should be started as soon as possible to have a beneficial effect.
Shortages of supplies and medications frequently occur during Influenza epidemics. However, diagnosis of specific viral respiratory infection remains important for hospitalized patients.
Please follow the current recommendations:
- Limit availability of viral transport media at ambulatory sites.
- Emergency departments are to limit viral respiratory testing to patients expected to be admitted.
- Do not perform testing for test of cure.
Thank you for your support during this time. Please direct any questions to Laboratory Services via the “contact us” link above.