Specimen Collection Recommendations for Pathologic Evaluation of Unexplained Illness due to Possibly Infectious Etiology

Unexplained critical illnesses and deaths of possible infectious etiology can be challenging cases to investigate. This is especially true for cases of sudden death, for which pre-mortem specimens are unavailable, and for cases where traditional laboratory assays have been unsuccessful in identifying a specific agent. Some of these cases have gross or histopathologic features suggestive of an infectious process and may be submitted for evaluation by the Infectious Diseases Pathology Branch. Performance of specific immunohistochemical, molecular, or other assays will be determined using clinical and epidemiologic information provided by the submitter and the histopathologic features identified in the submitted tissue specimens.

Collection of Tissue Specimens

In cases where there is gross or microscopic evidence of an infection present, or when clinical history raises the suspicion of infection, tissue from the organ(s) demonstrating pathology should be sampled heavily (i.e., multiple representative blocks collected) and submitted for evaluation. Major organs without apparent histopathologic changes may be submitted representatively.