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Biodefense - Clinical Testing

The ability to perform definitive testing for pathogens that cause human and animal disease is a critical public health function. Rapid, accurate and sensitive testing of clinical specimens, environmental specimens, food, and water samples provides a scientific foundation for an appropriate public health response and can reduce disease prevalence and transmission.

Acceptable specimens

Specimens tested in the Biodefense Laboratory include:

  • Blood collected in EDTA
  • Serum
  • Plasma
  • Pleural Fluid
  • Transtracheal aspirates/washes
  • Sputum
  • Fresh/frozen tissue
  • Isolates
  • Stool
  • Gastric Contents

Please contact the Biodefense Laboratory if there are questions on which specimen type is suitable for the appropriate organism or toxin identification.


The Biodefense Laboratory has developed kits to assist clinical laboratories, hospitals and regional health departments with collection and submission of specimens.

Bacteriology mailers for sample specimen submission can be obtained from the NYS DOH order desk at (518) 474-4175. Other specimen packaging for agents such as Orthopox viruses can be obtained by contacting the Biodefense Laboratory (518) 402-4455


All specimens and isolates are to be placed in UN approved containers and over-packing. IATA certified mailers are available from several commercial vendors.  All packages should be labeled in accordance with current CDC Federal Regulation 42 CFR Part 73 and U.S. Postal Regulation 39 CFR Part iii.

Smallpox Testing

Standard Collection kit materials include:

  • Saf-T-Pak Shipper
  • Swab with transport media
  • Glass microscope slides with frosted ends
  • Screw Capped plastic vials, 1.5 mL volumes
  • 5-slide mailers for microscope slides
  • Wadsworth Center Infectious Disease Requisition Form

Accessory Collection Kit material includes:

  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Alcohol resistant marker
  • Durasorb under pads
  • Biohazard Bags
  • Sharps Containers
  • Antimicrobial Skin Wipes
  • Plastic Forceps
  • Scalpels Size 10 Blade
  • 6” Ruler

NYS is requesting three types of samples:

  • Microscope slides of vesicular/pustular fluid obtained by touching the open lesion (a touch prep)
  • A swab used to collect infected cells from the base of the open lesion
  • Plastic tube containing the lesion caps

Please contact the Biodefense Laboratory PRIOR to shipping.