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Specimen Packaging & Shipping

Ordering Packaging/Shipping Materials

To request shipping materials please contact the New York State order desk at: 518-474-4175. The New York State order desk supplies 2 different kits for Mycobacteriology specimens:

  • Specimen kits: used for primary specimens sent for culture, PCR and susceptibility testing. 
  • Culture kits : used to submit isolates of mycobacterial species for identification and susceptibility testing

Shipping Specimens

Packages sent to the Wadsworth Center Mycobacteriology Laboratory are expected to contain infectious substances. It is critical that each specimen be packaged and shipped properly by a trained and certified shipper. All specimens sent to the Wadsworth Center Mycobacteriology Laboratory must comply with all Department of Transportation (DOT) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) shipping regulations in order for the shipper to avoid health and financial liabilities, both criminal and civil. Contact your transportation provider to ensure all shipping regulations are being met.

Instructions for Packaging Primary Specimens and Isolates

  1. Primary specimens (sputum, bronchial wash, primary respiratory specimens) should be placed in 50 ml screw capped conical tubes provided with the mailing kits. 
    1. Place a single piece of parafilm or tape on the cap to prevent opening in transit.
    2. Minimum specimen volume is 1 ml.
  2. Isolates submitted for identification and susceptibility testing may be sent on solid culture media (LJ, 7Hl0, etc.) that is slanted in screw cap tubes or in liquid culture media. 
    • Do not send isolates on culture plates. 
    • If liquid media is submitted, 3 ml is the optimal volume (1 ml minimum). 
    • Liquids may be submitted in the 50 ml screw capped conical tubes provided with the mailing kits, or in gasketed cryovials. 
      50 ml screw capped conical tubes
  3. Place a single piece of parafilm or tape on the cap to prevent opening in transit.
    • Place up to two 50 ml conical tubes or 10 cryovials onto the bubble wrap.
    • Be certain that the sticky side of the bubble wrap faces the specimen.
  4. Roll the bubble wrap around the receptacle(s). Bubble wrap may be cut to better fit the receptacles being shipped, but be certain that the container is completely covered by the bubble wrap sheet.
  5. Insert the bubble-wrapped primary receptacle(s) into the zip-lock plastic bag and seal the bag. 
    bubble-wrapped primary receptacle(s) into the zip-lock plastic bag
  6. Insert the zip-locked plastic bag containing the primary receptacle(s) into the secondary Specimen Transport Bag containing the absorbent material.   
  7. Remove the tape adhesive backing from the bag opening then fold bag at the slit and orient lines onto corresponding lines.
  8. Press hard from center working outward to seal and close.
  9. DO NOT place the requisition form(s) inside the plastic bag with primary receptacles.
    Specimen Transport Bag
  10. Fold and place completed requisition paperwork (Infectious Disease Requisition Form and a copy of CLEP’s approval to test specimen, if applicable) in the paperwork pouch on the outside of the Specimen Transport Bag.
  11. Assemble the pre-labeled and pre-addressed cardboard shipping box.
  12. Use one of the tape strips provided to seal the bottom of the box.
  13. Place pre-folded cardboard insert into the assembled box.
    Specimen Transport Bag in the shipping box
  14. Place the Specimen Transport Bag with the completed paperwork (Infectious Disease Requisition Form and a copy of CLEP’s approval to test, if applicable) in the shipping box. NOTE: Up to three specimen transport bags may be placed within each box.
  15. Close the outer box using the numerical guide on the outer package (i.e., 1, 2, 3, & 4) and seal using the second tape strip provided.
    the outer package
  16. Properly label the outer package and complete appropriate shipping documentation (FedEx forms, shippers, declarations, etc.) prior to shipment. 

Labeling

For primary specimens, use the shipper as it is received.  NOTE: The outer shipping boxes provided have been pre-labeled for shipment of Category B Infectious Substances and are appropriate for use when shipping primary specimens. If shipping isolates or propagated cultures, (Category A Infectious Substances), you must affix the UN 2814 label over the pre-printed proper shipping name “Biological Substance, Category B”. Shipping isolates or propagated culture material requires “Category A” labels.

Category A – Infectious Substances

Category A – Infectious Substances

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a Category A agent. The shipping containers provided by the New York State order desk for the Mycobacteriology Department are certified for use with category A agents.  The shipping kits include the necessary labels for shipping category A.  When shipping a box containing a Category A substance you must have a Division 6.2 hazard label and IATA label UN2814 – Infectious Substance, Affecting Humans affixed to it as shown above.  (Figure 22) The package must be accompanied by a Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods form. In addition, the shipper’s name and address, the name of the person at the shipping facility who is responsible for the package and a 24-hour phone number for the shipper must be included on the address label.

Category B – Biological Substance

Category B – Biological Substance

Primary specimens and isolates known to be a Mycobacterium species other than those in the M. tuberculosis complex should be shipped Category B. The mailers provided by the New York State order desk for the Mycobacteriology Department already have the markings for Category B shipping printed on them as shown above. Category B specimens require a diamond-shaped UN3373 label and the words Biological Substance, Category B on the outside of the mailer containing the specimens.  A Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods is not required.

Shipping address

For best results, specimens for the Mycobacteriology Laboratory should be shipped using FedEx or UPS or other commercial carrier. Packages should be addressed to:

Mycobacteriology Laboratory
Wadsworth Center
New York State Department of Health
120 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208