RSV, rapid antigen

Alphabetical Test listing

RSV, rapid antigen-6533A



RSV, rapid antigen
Respiratory Syncytial Virus

Detection of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in infants and pediatric patients under the age of 20

  • NP washings or aspirates in excess of 3mL decrease test sensitivity
  • Available October 1st to May 31st
    • Do not order in the off-season as false positive results are more likely when RSV prevalence is low
Nasopharyngeal (NP) swab

Nasopharyngeal (NP) swab collection:

  1. Tip the patient’s head back.
  2. Gently insert the NP swab into the nostril parallel to the palate (not upwards) until resistance is encountered or the distance is equivalent to that from the ear to the nostril of the patient, indicating contact with the nasopharynx.   
    1. If any resistance is met in the passageways, do not force the swab; back off and try reinserting it at a different angle, closer to the floor of the nasal canal, or try the other nostril.
  3. Gently rub and roll the swab for 10-15 seconds while the swab is in contact with the nasopharyngeal wall.
  4. The CDC recommends leaving the swab in place for several seconds to absorb secretions.
  5. Slowly remove the swab and place in the transport medium.
  6. Break the swab shaft so that it fits into the medium container and recap tightly.
  7. Label the specimen appropriately. Document the source “NP” on the label.

New England Journal of Medicine video on NP swab collection: Nasopharyngeal Swab Collection Video



If a back-up culture is requested for a negative result on a swab, a separate collection in M5 transport media is required.


ESwab flexible mini-tip collection kit (blue)

Nasopharyngeal washing or aspirate

NP swab:

ESwab mini-tip collection kit (green)

Other Nasopharyngeal bacterial culture swab

NP washing or aspirate:

Sterile container

3.0 (minimum 1.0) mL

NP swab

ESwab mini-tip collection kit (green)

Other Nasopharyngeal bacterial culture swab

NP washing or aspirate

Sterile container


Refrigerated - 72 hrs

  • Standard size Eswab (ESwab standard tip collection kit [white]) collections
  • Nasal swabs
  • Improper label (unlabeled or mislabeled)
  • Time delay between time of collection and receipt of specimen
  • Improper transport container
  • Improper transport temperature
  • Inappropriate specimen type
  • Leaking container
AHL - Microbiology: M
1 day




  • A negative test does not rule out RSV infection.