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3.8 How should animal samples or heads be stored until testing?

Brain samples or heads have to be properly packaged (in plastic bags, boxes, etc.). Ideally the sample(s) should be delivered to the laboratory for testing within one day without undue exposure to heat. Otherwise, the sample should be kept cool (e.g., in a refrigerator or freezer, or on ice) until delivery, if practical.

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Storage freezers - photo Friedrich Loeffler Institut

If cooling units are not available or a cold chain cannot be guaranteed, head removal is an appropriate means to provide a viable sample to a rabies laboratory. Even then these samples should be stored appropriately to avoid exposure to undue heat, until they can be delivered (within 3 to 4 days at a maximum) to the appropriate laboratory for analysis.

Samples transferred onto FTA® Gene Guard systems, a paper-based system designed to fix and store nucleic acids directly from fresh tissues, can be stored at room temperature until testing in a laboratory (read more here).

When cold facilities are not available, solutions for temporary preservation of samples are available (e.g. glycerol saline or RNA later). All samples should be appropriately labeled (i.e. with the name and address of the person involved/other contact information, species, date, sample location and unique identification number for each sample).


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[en]Version 1 Last updated December 2014[fr]Première version, dernière mise à jour Juin 2015