Question regarding new viral and bacterial presence codes

The codes below appear to indicate direct detection of bacteria or viruses since antibody, antigen, and/or nucleic acid are not specified. How should these codes be leveraged (as direct detection of the pathogen, as a grouper for related coding, or something else)?

104341-3 Borna disease virus [Presence] in Specimen
104369-4 Clostridium baratii [Presence] in Specimen
104370-2 Clostridium butyricum [Presence] in Specimen

Hi Jeremy,
I agree some further investigation is necessary in identifying the true meaning behind these three terms. Let’s check in with the LDHS (LOINC Data Health Standards) team for more information.


Good questions. I wouldn’t use these as groupers. It wouldn’t make sense as C butyricum code you mention is the only LOINC for this specific organism. It may be identified in a specimen with generic culture methods or Whole Genome Sequencing.

I suspect someone with a single qualitative means of identifying these organisms requested the LOINC, so we’ll see what the LOINC team indicates about its origin.

You’re correct in that a method is not indicated. I’ll mention there has been some discussions on LOINC and standards calls where some have proposed creating methodless LOINC codes and labs and others should support the LOINC method in the HL7 message field (if HL7 is used to message these test results).

I also recognize that LIS and EHR data dictionaries are not capturing lab test method in a separate dictionary/field with any encoding, as test method is usually known in the performing lab and reflected in mapping to a LOINC term with it.

Pam and I have presented examples where the lab test name does not reflect the test method. This information is not usually in the LIS except as above. Rather, it’s in the CLIA Specimen Collection Manual, aka laboratory test compendium, test catalog, which is usually separate from the LIS.

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