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Influenza Laboratory Testing

Influenza testing is performed by the Bureau of Clinical Laboratories (BCL) on a year-round basis. This testing program allows the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) to monitor influenza activity across the state. Data surveillance is evaluated by the Division of Infectious Diseases and Outbreaks through a network of private providers and public clinics around the state.

Any provider can submit influenza specimens for BCL testing year-round, not just flu season. To find out more about specimen collection and shipping instructions, see the detailed Guidance for Laboratory Testing for Influenza Viruses.

Specimens submitted for influenza or SARS-CoV-2 testing may also be tested for other pathogens as part of the department’s respiratory surveillance data.

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Surveillance Testing

ADPH's viral surveillance is dependent on hospitals and healthcare providers to voluntarily submit specimens from influenza-like illness (ILI) patients to the Bureau of Clinical Laboratories (BCL) throughout the year for influenza detection and subtype information. Influenza specimen submissions from healthcare providers help answer the questions of where, when, and what influenza viruses are circulating. ADPH requests that hospitals submit specimens for any individuals with ILI who are pregnant, hospitalized, have recently traveled internationally, or have had contact with bird/poultry flocks or pigs/swine.

In addition to influenza testing, our BCL has the capability to detect 16 additional respiratory pathogens including their subtypes:

  • RSV (A and B)
  • Coronavirus (229E, OC43, NL63, and HKU1, SARS-CoV-2)
  • Human metapneumovirus
  • Rhinovirus/enterovirus
  • Adenovirus
  • Parainfluenza (1, 2, 3, and 4)
  • Human bocavirus
  • Chlamydophila pneumoniae
  • Mycoplasma pneumonia


If you have any questions, contact the Bureau of Clinical Laboratories (BCL).

Page last updated: February 28, 2024