Virology Submission Guidelines: Rachel Corn VT
The Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory receives many samples every day for testing in the Virology Laboratory. The virology lab performs a wide variety of tests including, but not limited to, virus isolation, vaccine titers, and electron microscopy. There are three main sample types that are commonly submitted for virology. These include swabs, serum, and feces.
What is the best way to gather, hold and ship your samples for different tests?
First we will cover swabs. Swabs are usually sent for virus isolation and can be taken from any part of the animal depending on the symptoms the animal is showing. The best swab for virus isolation is a swab that is submitted in viral transport media, but you can also use a swab placed in a sterile container, like a red top tube, which contains 2 mL of sterile saline. Virus isolation cannot be completed on swabs submitted in Amies gel media or dry swabs. (Liquid Amies media is an acceptable media for virus isolation; CoPan™ media system, as described in a separate article in this newsletter, is an ideal submission media). After sample collection, the swabs need to be kept refrigerated until shipping. If you are going to hold the sample for more than 24 hours, the lab suggests freezing the swabs prior to shipment. All samples should be shipped with a cold pack to improve results.
Serum is commonly sent to the virology lab for antibody titer levels for a wide variety of diseases. Testing requires 1-2 mL of clear serum and should be collected either in a serum-separator tube or a red-top tube. If collected in a red top tube, it is suggested the sample be centrifuged and the serum removed before shipment. Serum should always be kept in the refrigerator until shipment. If you are planning to store the sample for a while, it should be frozen as soon as possible. Do not freeze the sample without first separating the serum. All samples should be shipped with a cold pack to improve results. Severe hemolysis and lipemia can negatively affect testing. The Virology Lab will attempt to run most samples but may have to result with a disclaimer if hemolysis or lipemia is too severe.
The last sample type commonly sent in to the KSVDL Virology Lab is feces. Fecal tests require 1-2 grams of feces. This sample type should be kept cold but not frozen. Please send fecal samples in a sterile hard plastic container. Fecal samples should not be sent in gloves or zip lock baggies because it is difficult to aseptically remove the feces and the baggies can leak in transport.
Keep these guidelines in mind when you are collecting and submitting samples to the KSVDL Virology Laboratory.
If you have any other questions please contact KSVDL Client Care by phone at 785-532-5650 or 866-884-3867, and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rachel Corn received a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and Industry with an Equine Science Certificate from Kansas State University. She then completed an associate degree in Veterinary Technology from Brown Mackie-Salina. She is a Client Care Technician at the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.