The National Laboratory Guidelines for Pandemic Influenza were compiled in consultation with members of the New Zealand Virology Laboratory Network. They are intended for use by health professionals and laboratory staff to ensure safe handling and collection of human specimens for diagnosis of influenza with pandemic potential.
During a global influenza pandemic alert, and in concert with New Zealand’s pandemic response strategy, all health care providers should be alert for patients with respiratory illness that could be pandemic influenza. For all suspected patients, samples for virus detection should be collected. The National Laboratory Guidelines for Pandemic Influenza advise what specimens are preferred and what test should be performed at the different stages of a pandemic.