Specimen Collection and Handling

The following are general guidelines for specimen collection and handling during respiratory disease outbreaks when the pathogen is unknown. Staff involved in collecting and shipping specimens should consult the state or local public health laboratory for specific guidance.

CDC staff are available to assist public health staff who are interested in laboratory testing through CDC. Please see Request CDC Assistance page for more details.

Submitting specimens to CDC
CDC requires a completed Specimen Submission Form 50.34 for all specimens shipped to CDC.

Learn more about submitting specimens to CDC.

Note: Obtain approval from CDC prior to shipping and follow CDC’s specimen submission guidance.