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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

Authorization for Submitting Specimens to the NVSL

Domestic Submissions

In general, the Assistant District Director 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 Originating Outside the US

Samples received from other countries must be accompanied by 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.  Additionally, samples originating from non-government laboratories outside the U.S must be accompanied by an authorization letter from the submitting country's Minister of Agriculture (or equivalent).


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 Assistant District Director 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.


Primate Samples

The NVSL will receive primate samples for serology, bacterial culture, and histopathology ONLY.  The NVSL will not accept primate samples for diagnosis of any suspected viral etiology.  

PLEASE CONTACT THE LAB (515-337-7388 or PRIOR TO SUBMITTING PRIMATE SAMPLES AND PROVIDE THE TRACKING NUMBER OF THE SHIPMENT. Having prior notice will help ensure proper handling and the safety of our staff.  This policy does not apply to Salmonella cultures originating from primates, which may be sent without prior notification.

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