Dear Valued Client,

Westpac Labs would like to provide you information regarding laboratory testing if you encounter suspected cases of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), originating in Wuhan, China. On January 21st, the first case of 2019-nCoV pneumonia was documented in the United States in a 30-year-old male returning from Wuhan, China to Seattle, Washington.

Currently, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control requires that all testing for 2019-nCoV be routed to the CDC via local/state public health departments. The CDC will only test individuals for 2019-nCoV if they meet the criteria for “Patient Under Investigation” (PUI). The definition of a PUI is: Fever and symptoms of lower respiratory illness along with travel in the past 14 days to Wuhan, China, or fever/symptoms and close contact with a patient under investigation for, or with laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV infection. 

If your patient meets the criteria for a PUI, please contact your local county public health department, which will give guidance and dispatch a courier for testing diagnostic specimens at the CDC. The CDC requires 3 specimen types for each PUI: 1- a lower respiratory tract specimen (2-3 ml of sputum, bronchoalveolar lavage or tracheal aspirate), 2- upper respiratory tract specimens (nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs in viral transport media), and 3- serum (5-10 ml in serum separator tube). These specimens should be refrigerated at 2-8 degrees Celsius.

If your patient does not meet the criteria for a PUI, please call Westpac Labs for pickup of specimens for routine diagnostic testing.

2019-nCoV is thought to be a novel member of the coronavirus family of single-stranded RNA viruses. Coronaviruses are etiologic agents of the common cold. However, novel genetic variants in recent years have caused outbreaks of severe acute lower respiratory tract illnesses such as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in 2003 and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) in 2012. Human to human transmission is thought to be via aerosolization. Our understanding of the current 2019-nCoV is evolving daily. 

For additional information on 2019-nCov, we would encourage review of the CDC website at: