High risk samples (specimens)

These include specimens from patients known or suspected to have certain infectious diseases, including:

  • Viral hepatitis
  • HIV infection
  • IV drug users
  • Tuberculosis
  • Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease
  • Typhoid Fever (Salmonella typhi/paratyphi)
  • Anthrax
  • Melioidosis (Burkholderia pseudomallei)
  • Brucellosis
  • Faecal samples from patients with E Coli 0157 or Haemolytic uraemic syndrome
  • Dysentery (caused by Shigella dystenteriae)
  • Viral Haemorrhagic Fever (Do not send any specimens, see below)

The nature of the hazard must be indicated on the request form in block capitals. Both the form and specimen/s must be marked with yellow Danger of Infection labels. Use of the Air Tube System is prohibited for the transport of High Risk specimens.

QMC: to deliver such specimens notify Portering Services (63211) emphasising that a High Risk specimen requires delivery in order to ensure that the porter brings a red transit box.

City Hospital: High Risk specimens must be taken to Pathology Reception.

Out of Hours: the on-call Microbiology BMS, who is on-call from home, must be contacted before sending the sample.

It is the responsibility of the doctor initiating the request to ensure that these precautions are taken. Any specimens from High Risk patients which are not so dispatched or are externally contaminated with blood will be destroyed without testing.


Viral Haemorrhagic Fever

If a diagnosis of a Viral Haemorrhagic Fever (Lassa, Ebola, Marburg, CongoCrimean fever) is possible seek immediate advice from the on-call infectious diseases physician and duty consultant microbiologist. Do not send any samples to the laboratory. Follow this link for further information.


Accidental Inoculation

Advice on accidents involving needles or other sharps which may have been used on a High Risk patient can be obtained from Occupational Health or a medical microbiologist (out of hours).

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