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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
USDA FAQ's and resources about coronavirus (COVID-19).  LEARN MORE

Develop a Surveillance Plan: Sampling Plan - Specimen Type and Laboratory Tests

Two sections of the sampling plan are discussed here: the specimen type section and the laboratory tests section. Information provided in both of these sections should be consistent with the case definition.

What to Include

The Specimen Type section should describe:

  • What type(s) of specimen(s) will be collected.

Note: specimen type refers to the type of biological or environmental specimen(s) that will be collected (e.g., blood, tonsil, nasal swab, fecal).

The Laboratory Tests section should describe:

  • What laboratory tests will be conducted. During a highly contagious disease outbreak, it is likely that most suspect cases will only have screening tests performed once confirmed positive cases have been identified.  Screening tests have high sensitivity, lower specificity, and are cheap and easy to perform.
  • Test sensitivity information. This is needed for use in determining sample sizes.

Note: Laboratory testing should be consistent with the case definition of the disease of concern.

Action Items

Determine appropriate specimen types and laboratory tests - Consult with veterinary diagnostic experts at FADDL or NVSL to determine these. Click here to find contact information for NVSL and FADDL and click here for specimen collection and test type guidelines.

Write the Specimen Type and Laboratory Tests sections of the surveillance plan - Open your draft surveillance plan and modify the sample types and testing content. Click here to preview the template content in your browser.

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