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Packaging of high risk samples

High-risk groups can include patients suffering or thought to be suffering from:

  • HIV infection
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • E.coli O157
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB)
  • Salmonella typhi (Typhoid fever)
  • Coccidioides immitis
  • All other Category 3 and 4 organisms (Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens)
  • I.V. drug-use
  • Patients who have had recent foreign travel with unexplained high pyrexia

NB. Specimens MUST be labelled with "Danger of Infection" stickers on the specimen, bag and form. The form must be folded to ensure confidentiality. The specimen must be sealed in the plastic transport bag. The specimen must then be placed in a secondary biohazard plastic bag and sealed.

To protect all health care workers requests for investigations on high risk samples should be the minimum required for diagnosis and good management. Great care must be taken in obtaining specimens, and equipment such as needles and blades must be immediately disposed of safely, in approved sharps boxes. Should a spillage of blood, fluids or tissue occur this should be made safe and disposed of, no matter what the risk to the patient.

See also Viral haemorrhagic fever: ACDP algorithm and guidance on management of patients.


(Last reviewed March 21st 2018)