Specimen Collection Information
Using CARPHA Laboratory Investigation Form - Essential Information

The following essential information must be documented in a legible manner on the CARPHA Laboratory Investigation form & specimen containers (where feasible) sent to the Laboratory:

Note: The sections in bold are mandatory and omission will delay/ prevent processing and testing of the sample.

Laboratory Investigation Forms

The laboratory produces its own request forms that assist in the efficient processing of samples. (Refer to Annex 3)

Additional requirements for submission of TB samples are highlighted in red.

1. Patient Information
  • Patient demographics i.e., National Patient ID and/or Laboratory Number, Age, D.O.B., Sex, Address, Occupation (where relevant)
2. Referring Doctor
  • Name of Referral Doctor/ Hospital with contact information
3. Provisional Diagnosis, Additional Notes
  • Clinical diagnosis
  • Travel history

Provide any past clinical information on patient including past treatment, treatment failure, relapse or non-compliance.
Indicate if patient is suspected of pulmonary TB (PTB) or a suspected MDR-TB case.

4. Food/Animal/Environment Sample Details
  • Specimen type
5. Case
  • Type of case e.g. Single/Outbreak/Survey
6. Date of Onset of Illness
  • Date of onset of illness
7. Outcome
  • Hospitalization status or death
8. Signs and Symptoms
  • Clinical signs and symptoms

Please check all symptoms exhibited by patient.
Please include HIV status and any treatment information with start date if known.

Laboratory Use and Physician/EHO Use
  • Date of collection of specimen(s)
  • Laboratory results of all tests performed in country re that specimen, including date tested
  • Date specimen referred to CARPHA for testing
Using CARPHA LIMS webpage - Essential Information

The essential information that must be entered is indicated on the web-page form.

Samples from Private Patients

The primary role of the CARPHA Medical Microbiology Laboratory is to provide a reference clinical and diagnostic service to CARPHA Member States (CMS). It currently only accepts samples submitted through the national public health laboratories of its member states.

Specimen Rejection & Factors that may affect Assay Performance

Specimens may be rejected based upon the following criteria however this decision will be made on a case by case basis and the submitting agency will be notified.

NOTE: Assay performance may be affected by sample quality: blood specimens that are grossly haemolysed, icteric (high bilirubin content) or lipaemic may not be suitable for testing.

  • Unlabelled or mislabelled specimen
  • Submitting agency will be notified that specimen will be discarded
  • Specimens with insufficient volume
  • Specimen deemed not to be of an acceptable quality for processing at CARPHA
  • Submitting agency will be notified and new specimens will be requested by CARPHA
  • Submitting agency will be notified and specimen will be discarded

Specimens without the following information:

  • Clinical diagnosis and/or signs and symptoms
  • Date of onset of symptoms
  • Date of specimen collection
  • The submitting agency will receive notification requesting the required information prior to testing.
  • Specimens will be appropriately stored awaiting the requested information
  • Illegible patient documentation
  • A request for clarification of information will be sent to the submitting agency for urgent resolution
  • Inappropriate container or specimen type for the test requested.
  • Submitting agency will be notified and new specimens will be requested
Specimen Collection

Please refer to Annex 1 for specific guidelines

All specimens referred for serological testing assays should:

  • Have a minimum volume of 1.0 ml.
  • Be maintained at temperatures within the range of 40C to -200C.
  • Be contained in appropriate vials that do not exceed the dimensions of 1.5 cm diameter and 4.7 cm in height e.g. Nunc vial. Only vials with external threads are to be used.

NOTE: Do not send specimens in glass tubes or internally threaded/snap cap tubes

Specimens Submitted Under the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI)

Please check with the EPI manager in-country to ensure appropriate recording of samples prior to submission to CARPHA Medical Microbiology Laboratory for the vaccine preventable diseases covered under the EPI elimination or eradication programme (Measles, Mumps, Polio and Rubella).