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Specimen Collection and Shipping Instructions

The MDHHS Bureau of Laboratories, Laboratory Support Unit can provide shipping containers and supplies for many of the specimens that are sent to our laboratory for testing. Collection tubes and transport media are also available. 

When collecting clinical specimens for testing at the Bureau of Laboratories please keep in mind:

  • Good laboratory practice requires the collector to verify the patient's identity at the time the specimen is collected. A best practice is for the collector to ask patients to spell their first and last names every time.
  • The patient's name (first and last) AND a second identifier must be clearly written on the specimen container.
  • The second identifier can be a hospital number, date of birth, or other unique identifier. Date of collection is not considered a unique identifier.
  • The appropriate test requisition, complete with the patient's name and unique identifier, must be sent with the specimen.
  • The information on the test requisition must match the container exactly.
  • Specimens that are unlabeled or mislabeled will not be tested.
  • Specimens must be properly packaged and shipped in appropriate containers that follow US Department of Transportation regulations, Postal Service regulations, and/or United Parcel Service/FedEx guidelines for transporting hazardous materials.

The shipper is responsible for being sure that their package is in compliance with current regulations.

Please refer to our list of Clinical Specimen Collection and Shipping Containers for more information.


To review the instructions for collection and packaging of specimens for transport to the Bureau of Laboratories, select from the list below. Note: These are in PDF Format.

  • Amplified, Non-Culture N. gonorrhoeae/C. trachomatis/T. vaginalis - swab specimen (other than vaginal, see below) DCH-0973 - updated 05/16/2022
  • Amplified, Non-Culture N. gonorrhoeae/C. trachomatis/T. vaginalis - urine specimen DCH-0975 - updated 05/16/2022
  • Amplified, Non-Culture N. gonorrhoeae/C. trachomatis/T. vaginalis - vaginal, rectal, or throat swabs DCH-0972 - updated 05/16/2022
  • Amplified, Non-Culture N. gonorrhoeae/C. trachomatis/T. vaginalis - patient self-collected vaginal swabs DCH-0972S - updated 03/24/2022
  • Blood Lead Testing DCH-0575 - updated 06/04/2024
  • Bordetella pertussis by Culture, Isolation and PCR DCH-0881 - updated 03/24/2022
  • CD4/CD8 Testing DCH-0562 - updated 11/27/2023  
  • Chemical Event DCH-1334
  • Direct Fluorescent Antibody Test for Treponema pallidum DCH-0880
  • Emerging Arbovirus Panel (PCR & Serology) DCH-0813 - updated 12/15/2016  
  • Enteric Bacterial Culture - English version DCH-0596 - updated 09/05/2008  
  • Food Borne Illness DCH-0883 - updated 06/29/2012
  • HIV Direct Detection by PCR DCH-0884 - updated 09/05/2008
  • Influenza Sentinel Physician Specimen Submission DCH-0773 - updated 11/03/2017
  • Microbiology Chain of Custody for Clinical Testing MDHHS-6049 - added 09/11/2023
  • Mycobacteria, Culture and Direct Smear DCH-0721 - added 04/21/2023
  • NBS Collection Device Instructions - added 11/18/2014
  • Norovirus DCH-0723 - updated 12/28/2018
  • Orasure Specimen Collection & Submission DCH-1178
  • Parasitology (Fecal) DCH-0596 - updated 04/02/2018
  • Rabies (Animal Testing) DCH-0676 - updated 08/13/2010
  • Referred Cultures - Bacterial/Mycobacterial/Fungal DCH-0597 - updated 06/17/2024
  • Serum Packaging - Bacterial/Viral/Fungal DCH-0808 - updated 02/12/2016
  • Serum Submission - Hepatitis C and Syphilis DCH-0812 - updated 05/15/2024
  • Trace Metals Analysis - DCH-0976
  • Vaccinia/Variola/Pox Virus Specimen Collection and Submission Form and Instructions DCH-1396 - updated 04/01/2022
  • Viral Load Testing for HIV-1 DCH-0562 - updated 06/14/2021
  • Viral PCR DCH-0772 - updated 03/05/2024
  • Virus Isolation Specimen Submission DCH-0772 - updated 06/28/2022


Rev. 6/17/2024