Specimen Collection, Storage, & Shipment

For U.S. patient samples: Please contact your state or local health department to determine where to submit specimens and how to ship them.

CDC’s Infectious Disease Laboratories provides guidance for rubella specimen collection, storage, and shipment. Refer to the Infectious Disease Laboratories Test Directory entry for each test, see links below, for instructions on specimen collection, storage, and shipment as well as points of contact for the tests.

Serologic Testing (serum samples):


Rubella RNA Detection by RT-PCR or Virus Isolation

Clinical Samples from CRS Cases

Nasopharyngeal swabs, throat swabs, and urine samples should be collected as close to birth as possible and collected, stored and shipped as described in the Infectious Disease Laboratories Test Directory entries above. To screen for shedding from confirmed CRS cases, nasopharyngeal, throat and/or urine samples should be collected monthly after the age of 3 months to determine if rubella RNA is still present in the specimen. Collection of samples can be stopped after two consecutive negative tests are obtained.

Clinical Samples from Cases of Rubella Persistence

In some cases, rubella has been known to establish persistent infections in humans. An eye disease known as Fuchs’ Uveitis Syndrome (FUS) is associated with persistent rubella virus, and virus has been detected in aqueous humor decades after the original infection. The strong association between rubella vaccine persistence and development of granulomatous lesions in individuals with various primary immunodeficiency diseases has been recently established and infectious mutated vaccine-derived viruses have been recovered from these granulomas.

Specimen Shipping

Clinical specimens should be sent along with CDC Form 50.34.

For additional information and to notify the CDC Viral Vaccine Preventable Disease Branch of specimen shipments, please contact:

Email: Dr. Ludmila Perelygina (ifw0@cdc.gov) or Dr. LiJuan Hao (idn1@cdc.gov).

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