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Information for Diagnostic Laboratories

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Collection of Samples for Diagnosis of Rabies in Animals

Testing for rabies in animals is done postmortem and may be necessary to determine the rabies exposure risk to humans. Samples requiring confirmation, variant typing, or formalin-fixed tissues may be sent to the CDC for additional diagnostic testing. The rabies laboratory should be contacted (404-639-1050) before any samples are submitted for testing.

Instructions for formalin-fixed tissue

  1. Patient History: If a human exposure is involved, include a complete patient history with all the known information regarding the exposure.
  2. Include reports on pathological findings by light microscopy of the H & E stained slides, if available.
  3. Submit H & E stained section from each paraffin block being submitted, to include brain stem, hippocampus, and cerebellum and other areas indicative of lesions. If the submitting laboratory cannot provide unstained sections to CDC and provides paraffin blocks for FFFA testing, processing time will be one week.
  4. Submit 4 or 5 unstained sections - from each of these blocks mounted on coated slides.
  5. Submit the paraffin blocks from which these slides were sectioned.
  6. Specimens must be placed in sealed mailing containers or bags put in a Styrofoam box or padded manila envelope, and shipped to:

    Rabies Laboratory
    DASH, Bldg 18, Room SSB218
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    1600 Clifton Road, NE
    Atlanta, GA 30333
    (404) 639-1050

Collection of Samples for Diagnosis of Rabies in Humans

State health departments should be the primary contact for physicians during consultation about possible human rabies cases. After consultation with physicians, it may be deemed necessary to send human samples for rabies testing to the Rabies Laboratory at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Any questions regarding likelihood of a case, sampling techniques, and shipping can be answered by calling the Rabies Section at the CDC at (404)-639-1050.

Contact Us:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    1600 Clifton Rd
    Atlanta, GA 30333
  • 800-CDC-INFO
    TTY: (888) 232-6348
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