Mycoplasma pneumoniae, PCR

Alphabetical Test listing

Mycoplasma pneumoniae, PCR-13390

Mycoplasma pneumoniae, PCR

This test is intended to be used as an aid in the diagnosis of infections caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae

Throat/nasopharyngeal (NP) swab

Throat/oropharyngeal swab collection

  1. Ask the patient to tilt their head back, open mouth wide, breathe deeply, and say "ah".
  2. Extend the swab to the back of the oral cavity, being careful not to touch lips, walls of mouth, uvula, or tongue.
  3. Rubbing the swab over both tonsillar pillars and posterior oropharynx.
    1. Avoid touching the tongue, teeth, and gums.
  4. Place the swab into the provided transport media
  5. Grasp the top of the swab and bend within the media container until the shaft breaks. If there is no indicator line, bend within the media container until the shaft breaks.
  6. Break the shaft short enough to fit completly into the media container.
  7. Replace the media cap and screw on securely. Label with the OP source

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



Copan UTM-RT transport (purple cap)


Bronchoalveolar (BAL), bronchial wash/aspirate
NP wash/aspirate
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)

Sterile container

0.5 mL (minimum 0.2 mL)

Sterile container


BAL/wash/aspirates and swabs:
Ambient (preferred) - 7 days
Refrigerated - 7 days
Frozen - 7 days

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF):
Ambient (preferred) - 7 days
Refrigerated - 7 days
Frozen - 90 days

  • Quantity not sufficient for analysis
  • Gross specimen contamination
  • Specimen too old
  • Leaking or broken tube
  • PCR testing cannot be added on to a sample that has been opened and/or used for other testing. If the sample has already been used for testing, a new specimen will need to be collected.
LabCorp Burlington (138420): R-LC
3 days / wk
4 - 7 days

Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR)



Result 29257-3