Sample Submission Q&A

Submission of Samples to CDC for Rubella Testing

Q: What tests are used?

A: The reference laboratory at CDC uses commercial enzyme-linked immunoassays (EIAs) for rubella IgM and IgG testing and a laboratory-developed assay for IgG avidity testing. The rubella IgM assay is a capture IgM format EIA; the rubella IgG test is an indirect EIA. For RNA detection and genotyping, laboratory developed RT-PCR assays are used.

Q: Who can send samples to CDC?

A: In general, the State Public Health Laboratory (SPHL) refers serum and/or viral samples to CDC for rubella testing, usually for confirmatory testing. The mission of the CDC national laboratory is to provide support for rubella surveillance as needed. Certain circumstances sometimes require that initial testing is done at CDC. Shipment of such samples to CDC can be arranged by local public health offices or private clinics and hospitals to expedite testing. However, in such cases, the SPHL should notify Dr. Ludmila Perelygina ( in CDC’s Viral Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VVPDB) Laboratory.

Q: What information is needed along with the specimen?

A: A completed CDC Form 50.34 must be submitted with each specimen. Provide the following information on the CDC 50.34 Specimen Submission Form: date of onset, date of specimen collection, date(s) of last rubella vaccination (usually MMR), and any recent travel history. Provide information on pregnancy status if applicable. Provide any preliminary results available. A patient identification number and/or name, as well as the patient date of birth should be entered on the form.

Q: When will the result be available?

A: Specimens for rubella testing are delivered by courier to the STATT (Specimen Triage and Tracking) laboratory at CDC. Samples are then delivered to the Viral Vaccine Preventable Diseases Branch (Unit #81). The turnaround time for testing samples is at most five working days after the delivery of samples to the rubella reference lab by the STATT lab.

Reports are sent back to the submitter by Electronic Laboratory Information System (ELIMS).