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High risk specimens

Specimens that potentially contain category 3 pathogens (for example, mycobacterium, HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C) must be clearly labelled as HIGH RISK on both the request card and on the specimen pot. Please refer to the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP) website for a comprehensive list of Category 3 human pathogens.

To ensure health and safety of staff, high risk specimens are to be fully fixed before being processed by the laboratory. The date and time that the specimen is taken should be recorded on the request card for all high risk specimens to enable the laboratory to calculate the fixation time on receipt. This information will minimise the infection risk to staff and prevent undue delay to processing.

Frozen sections and immunofluorescence investigations will not be performed on any high risk or potentially high risk specimen.


(Last reviewed 19th July 2017)