The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and Clinical Laboratory Safety in the United States. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Packaging and Shipping Specimens for EVD Testing to the CDC

According to federal and international regulations, all personnel who are involved in the packaging and shipping of infectious materials are required to have training specific to the category of infectious substances being shipped. This training must be successfully completed and documented prior to attempting to packaging or ship EVD specimens.
Because state guidelines may differ, the CDC requires that healthcare facilities contact their respective local and/or state health departments before shipping specimens for EVD testing to determine the proper category for shipping (likely to be category A). The triple packaging system (required for category A substances) must be used when shipping specimens. This includes the use of:
  • A watertight, leak-proof primary receptacle
  • Leak-proof secondary packaging
  • Absorbent material in sufficient quantity to absorb the entire contents, if the primary receptacle were to leak or break. The absorbent material is to be placed between the primary receptacle and the secondary packaging
  • An itemized list of contents, enclosed between the secondary packaging and the outer packaging (preferably enclosed in a zip lock bag).
  • Rigid outer packaging
Important steps when submitting EVD samples to the CDC include, but are not limited to:
  • Following state/local health department procedures for notification and consultation for EVD testing requests (this step should be taken before contacting the CDC).
  • Consulting with the CDC's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) prior to shipping. Specimens will NOT be accepted without prior consultation.
  • Contacting your state and/or local health department and the CDC to determine the proper shipping category based on clinical history and risk assessment by the CDC.