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Laboratory News and Emerging Issues

Laboratory Newsletters

Influenza Season is Here!

Surveillance for the 2016-2017 influenza Season officially begins on October 1, 2016. Receiving the first positive influenza specimens in the state is important in determining the circulating strains and prevalence. The Montana Public Health Laboratory (MTPHL) also shares these specimens with the Centers for Disease Control for further characterization and anti-viral resistance testing. 

MTPHL appreciates laboratories' help in collecting this data and requests the following:

  • Clinical laboratory partners that perform molecular testing for influenza report their total test numbers, and the number of positives, to Montana RSV Surveillance System. This site also has a section for reporting molecular influenza data.  
  • Fourteen (14) pre-selected hospital laboratories submit two (2) specimens per week for fee-waived surveillance testing, even if they have been confirmed by molecular methods.  
  • Specimens must be collected into universal transport media and shipped in a cold condition. Please do not submit specimens for testing that are the residual from rapid testing.
  • Please use the designated influenza surveillance forms. If you have not received these forms please contact MTPHL at 1-800-821-7284
  • Suspected clusters/outbreaks or special circumstances surrounding influenza-like illness should be reported to MT DPHHS-CDEpi (406-444-0273).