Serenity Laboratories

RPP Testing

RPP Testing

(Respiratory Pathogen Panel)

A variety of viruses and some bacteria can cause infections of the respiratory tract. These disease-causing microbes are called pathogens. The respiratory pathogens panel tests for the presence of multiple disease-causing microbes in a single respiratory sample. 

While a wide variety of viruses and bacteria can cause respiratory infections, the list of common ones is much smaller. A healthcare practitioner may have an idea about the cause based on the season, your signs and symptoms, medical history, and in some cases recent travel, but will not be able to positively identify the microbe without testing.

How is the RPP Test Performed?

A sample is collected from the back of your nose and throat (nasopharyngeal swab). This is done by having you tip your head back, then a swab is gently inserted through a nostril until resistance is met (about 1 to 2 inches), then rotated several times and withdrawn. This may tickle a bit and cause your eyes to water. Alternatively, a nasal wash or aspirate may be collected. A syringe is used to push a small amount of sterile saline into the nose, then gentle suction is applied (for the aspirate) or the resulting fluid is collected into a cup (for a wash).

Human lungs infected by virus and bacteria. 3d illustration

Examples of some of the microbes that might be tested include:


  • Influenza A and B (flu)
  • Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  • Parainfluenza virus
  • Rhinovirus
  • Adenovirus
  • Coronavirus
  • Enterovirus
  • Human metapneumovirus


  • Bordetella pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Chlamydia pneumoniae
  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae