Recommended Specimens for Microbiology and Pathology for Diagnosis of Anthrax

Cutaneous, gastrointestinal, inhalation, injection and meningeal anthrax can be diagnosed using a combination of microbiology and pathology testing methods. Specimens should be collected for any patient with symptoms compatible with anthrax, with or without a confirmed epidemiological link to a known or high risk exposure.

Prior to sending specimens to CDC for anthrax diagnostic testing, first consult with and obtain authorization from your state health department and contact the CDC Emergency Operations Center at 1-770-488-7100 for an anthrax testing consultation. Once approval has been obtained from your state health department and from CDC, please submit your specimen following the recommendations below.

Note: These recommendations also apply to specimen submissions for identification of infections caused by Bacillus cereus biovar anthracis.

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