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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Packaging and Shipping Infectious Materials. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Classification Scenario 1

A blood specimen is collected from a patient that is suspected of having Hepatitis B. The specimen will be sent via commercial carrier to a reference laboratory located in the United States for further testing. What classification should be used for appropriate packaging and labeling?

The specimen in this scenario is being sent to a facility in the US. Therefore, you will use the DOT classification decision tree. The specimen is likely to contain an infectious substance (hepatitis B virus). Follow the No arrow from the first box on the chart. This is a patient specimen and not a culture, it is not on the category A indicative list, and does not otherwise meet the definition of a category A substance. Follow the No arrow from the second box on the chart. In this scenario, it is a patient specimen that is likely to cause disease (hepatitis) and there is more than a minimal likelihood that pathogens are present (hepatitis B virus). It is not being transported by private or contract carrier in an exclusive-use vehicle. Again, follow the No arrow from the third box on the chart. You would classify this specimen as a UN3373 Biological substance, Category B.