Instructions for Submitting Diagnostic Specimens for Testing by the Rickettsial Reference Diagnostic Laboratory
- Guidelines for Test Requests and Shipping Specimens, Rickettsial Disease [PDF – 1 page]
- Sample Specifications and Packaging Guidelines for Rickettsial Disease [PDF – 1 page]
- Collection and Submission of Skin Biopsy Specimens, Rickettsial Disease [PDF – 1 page]
- Collection and Submission of Eschar Swab Specimens, Rickettsial Disease [PDF – 1 page]
- CDC specimen submission form (CDC 50.34)
Our laboratory serves as a national reference diagnostic laboratory for diseases due to rickettsial agents and associated pathogens. Our testing is provided free-of- charge to approved agencies. These diseases can be rapidly progressive, so prompt treatment of the patient should not be delayed while waiting upon our test results. If you require standard testing services, a number of commercial laboratories offer many of the rickettsial tests.
- View Sample Specifications and Packaging Guidelines for Rickettsial Disease for information about appropriate clinical lab specimens for Rickettsial diseases.
Specimen Submission Guidelines
- Samples should be sent through your state public health laboratory or with their approval. Final reports of test results are returned to the state public health laboratory who is responsible for providing these reports to the primary submitter.
- Specimens must be accompanied by the CDC Specimen Submission Form (CDC 50.34). Separate forms should be submitted for each test requested (i.e., serology, PCR, immunohistochemistry, culture) for an individual patient. Specimen submission forms must include:
- Patient name, sex, and birthdate
- Date of illness onset
- Date of specimen collection
- Specimen type (e.g., serum, whole blood, tissue, etc.)
- Shipping medium, if applicable (e.g., saline, formalin, etc.)
- Test requested (see test codes below)
- Brief clinical summary (including details of antibiotic therapy and dates) and pertinent clinical findings
- Brief travel and exposure history (including animals, arthropods, etc.)
- Submitting physician/organization, complete return address, and contact numbers
- Samples for immunohistochemistry should include a copy of any existing pathology
- Samples should be sent directly to the Specimen Triage and Tracking (STAT) lab at this address:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
ATTN: Reference Diagnostic Laboratory, Rickettsial Zoonoses Branch (unit 78)
1600 Clifton Road, NE
Atlanta, GA 30329-4027
- Packages should be mailed for receipt Tuesday-Friday, and should take into consideration U.S. Federal holidays. Exceptions can be made for urgent samples with prior approval.
- Test codes for rickettsial samples
Anaplasma Serology CDC-10292 Anaplasma and Ehrlichia Molecular Detection CDC-10290 Anaplasma and Ehrlichia Special Study CDC-10291 Coxiella burnetii Serology CDC-10305 Coxiella burnetii Molecular Detection CDC-10304 Coxiella Special Study CDC-10306 Ehrlichia Serology CDC-10311 Orientia Molecular Detection CDC-10359 Orientia Serology CDC-10360 Rickettsia Molecular Detection CDC-10402 Rickettsia Serology Spotted Fever Group (RMSF) Serology CDC-10403 Rickettsia Serology Typhus Group Serology CDC-10404 Ricksettsia Special Study CDC-10405
For questions, please call the Rickettsial Zoonoses Branch at (404) 639-1075 or email.
- Page last reviewed: April 1, 2011
- Page last updated: July 14, 2015
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