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Blood Specimens - Shipment

Note: When shipping a specimen to CDC, make sure your package will arrive on a weekday and will not arrive at CDC on the weekend or a federal holiday.

  1. In emergencies, call the Epidemiology Branch of the Division of Parasitic Diseases at (770) 488-7760 to make special arrangements.
  2. For routine requests, submit the specimen to the appropriate city, county or state health department laboratory (see http://www.aphl.orgExternal Web Site Icon) for processing and examination. That facility will refer specimens to CDC if necessary.
  3. Figure 1 shows correct labeling and packaging of specimens (http://www.cdc.gov/od/ohs/biosfty/bmbl4/b4acf1.htm).
  4. If shipping a specimen, please refer to shipping regulations and guidelines at the following addresses:
    1. Guidelines for the Safe Transport of Infectious Substances and Diagnostic Specimens, (World Health OrganizationExternal Web Site Icon)
    2. The IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations Manual, (International Air Transport Association) http://www.iata.org/ps/publications/dgr/Pages/index.aspxExternal Web Site Icon
    3. Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 100-185. Hazardous Materials regulations (Department of Transportation) http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/hazmat/regsExternal Web Site Icon
    4. Title 42 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 72. Interstate shipment of etiologic agents (Department of Health and Human Services) http://www.cdc.gov/od/ohs/biosfty/shipregs.htm
    5. Title 42 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 72.6. Additional requirements for facilities transferring or receiving select agents (Department of Health and Human Services) http://www.selectagents.gov/External Web Site Icon
    6. Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (CDC/NIH) http://www.cdc.gov/od/ohs/biosfty/bmbl/bmbl-1.htm
Shipping blood smears for microscopic examination
  1. Place labeled dried blood smears (stained and unstained) in a slide box, with grooves to separate the slides.
  2. Pack the slide box inside another box, cushioned so that the slides are protected from breakage.
  3. Include information:
    1. Submitter's name, address and phone number
    2. Physician's name, address and phone number
    3. Patient's name, travel history (places and dates) and treatment information
    4. Specimen collection date
    5. What organism is suspected
  4. Ship via mail or package carrier.
Shipping whole blood for isolation of parasites (culture or animal inoculation), molecular diagnosis or drug level
  1. Place labeled tube of anticoagulated (EDTA) blood in enough absorbent material to contain any leakage, and place in a sealed plastic bag or 50 ml screw cap centrifuge tube.
  2. Pack this bag or container in a box, cushioned so that the blood tube is protected from breakage.
  3. Include information:
    1. Submitter's name, address and phone number
    2. Physician's name, address and phone number
    3. Patient's name, travel history (places and dates) and treatment information
    4. Specimen collection date
    5. What tests are requested and what organisms are suspected
  4. Ship via courier or overnight delivery to permit optimum recovery of parasites; refrigeration during shipment may be necessary and should be discussed beforehand with the receiving laboratory.

For additional information about shipping blood smears or blood specimens, call the Division of Parasitic Diseases at 770-488-7100.

DPDx is an education resource designed for health professionals and laboratory scientists. For an overview including prevention and control visit www.cdc.gov/parasites/.

  • Page last reviewed: May 3, 2016
  • Page last updated: November 10, 2016
  • Content source:
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