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Illustration of Parotid Gland and Instructions for Collection of Buccal Fluid

Buccal cavity

Adapted from the Illinois Dept. of Public Health – Div. of Laboratories (Chicago Virology Section)

Swab the buccal cavity (photo on right), which is the space near the upper rear molars between the cheek and the teeth. Swab the area between the cheek and gum by sweeping the swab near the upper molar to the lower molar area.

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Parotid gland diagram

Illustration of parotid gland

Preferred specimen: Parotid gland duct swab for viral culture collected within 9 days of onset of symptoms.

Collection of a mumps specimen for viral and PCR testing: Massage the parotid (salivary) glands for 30 seconds.

Specimen Preparation: Swabs should be placed in 2 ml of standard viral transport medium. Allow the swab to remain in VTM for at least 1 hour (4°C). Ream the swab around the rim of the tube to retain cells and fluid in the tube. The swab can be broken off and left in the tube or discarded.

Storage and Shipment: Following collection, samples should be maintained at 4°C and shipped on cold packs (4°C) within 24 hours. If there is a delay in shipment, the sample is best preserved by freezing at −70°C. Frozen samples should be shipped on dry ice.