In general, the Area Veterinarian-in-Charge (AVIC) authorizes incoming specimen submissions of U.S.-origin samples to the NVSL. Authorization is assumed for routine program submissions made by regulatory field veterinarians, state or university diagnostic laboratories, or Food Safety and Inspection Service veterinarians, when such submissions are accompanied by the proper submission forms. Major exceptions to this assumption of authorization occur during emergency field operations or with regard to suspected exotic diseases.
Samples received from other countries must be accompanied by a letter from the submitting country's Minister of Agriculture (or equivalent) and a valid USDA import permit; the laboratory conducting the analyses should be contacted to obtain a copy of the permit to enclose with the sample shipment.
Suspected Exotic Diseases
Investigations of suspected exotic diseases are conducted according to Veterinary Services (VS) Guidance 12001 (PDF, 466 KB; formerly VS Memorandum 580.4). If an exotic disease is suspected, contact the AVIC and the Emergency Programs Staff to obtain the information necessary to submit samples for testing and to acquire the Investigation Control Number that must be included with the submission. Approval by a Regional Director or an Emergency Programs Staff member is required for shipment of any specimens originating from animals suspected of having an exotic disease. DO NOT ship any such specimens until approval is received and a control number is assigned. The receipt of an unauthorized shipment of specimens containing exotic disease agents can cause substantial disruption of work at the laboratory. If clearance is given, the proper priority designation should be used. Telephone the NVSL, as directed by Emergency Programs, to notify the lab of priority 1 or 2 shipments. There is no charge for this testing.