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Considerations for Selection and Prioritization of Animal Specimens for Laboratory Testing
June 19, 2003, 11:00 PM ET

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CDC is working with state and local health departments to conduct laboratory testing of specimens from animals with suspected monkeypox. This document provides guidance on the submission of animal specimens to CDC for monkeypox diagnostic testing.

Priority for animal testing conducted at the CDC Poxvirus Laboratory is assigned on a case-by-case basis, and should be discussed with the CDC Monkeypox Animal/Quarantine Team at 770-488-7100, or by email at, prior to submission of samples. States are encouraged to consider exploring alternative testing options through state Laboratory Response Network (LRN) laboratories or veterinary diagnostic laboratories. Consideration for testing of animal specimens by the CDC Poxvirus Laboratory may be given to the following:

  • exotic mammalian pets meeting the suspect or probable case definition (Justification: confirmation of suspect and probable cases of animal monkeypox)
  • asymptomatic wild or exotic mammalian pets that meet the epidemiologic criteria in the case definition (Justification: to assess whether animals may have asymptomatic infections and transmit virus to humans)
  • symptomatic wild or exotic mammalian pets that do not meet the epidemiologic criteria in the case definition (Justification: to identify new pet holding facilities with monkeypox not identified through tracebacks)
  • symptomatic or asymptomatic domestic pets that meet the epidemiologic criteria in the case definition (Justification: to assess whether domestic pets are susceptible to monkeypox and may transmit virus to humans).

The CDC Poxvirus Laboratory cannot accept any animal specimens unless they are forwarded through a state health department laboratory. State health departments should coordinate the shipments of all animal specimens with their State Veterinarian to ensure compliance with local, state, and federal animal regulations.

All specimens should be submitted through CDC's on-line web-based incoming specimen tracking system by completing the shipping information. Prior to shipping, please send e-mail to to alert CDC that the shipment is in transit.

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