Collection, handling, and shipment of microbiological specimens
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Collection, handling, and shipment of microbiological specimens

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    First printed December 1962, revised November 1968.

    A reliable laboratory report as an aid in the diagnosis of disease depends upon the care and thought used in the collection, handling, and transport of specimens. Too often physicians and other medical or public health personnel are only generally familiar with the problems and procedures involved in obtaining and submitting material for laboratory examination.

    The objective of this manual is to present procedures which, in the opinion of the staff of the National Communicable Disease Center—who authored the various sections—have been found to be practical and productive. Other methods may be equally satisfactory, however, and may, at times, be substituted for those described. In any case, whenever laboratory examinations are to be carried out in local or State laboratories, methods acceptable to these laboratories should be used.

    It is of utmost importance that the purpose of a procedure for handling a specimen be kept in mind. Thus, for example, the safest and most expeditious method of transporting specimens to a diagnostic laboratory may be by automobile rather than by mail or express, thus obviating the need for elaborate packaging. In contrast, forwarding specimens to a reference library by mail requires procedures which insure viability of the infectious agent and provide maximum protection to those handling the shipment in transit.

    This is a revison of a similar publication entitled "Collection, handling, and shipment of diagnostic specimens" previously issued under the same publication number.

    First printed December 1962, revised November 1968.

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