Clinical Laboratory Guide to Services - Minnesota Dept. of Health

The Clinical Guide to Services is a comprehensive reference guide of testing services, shipping information and submission requirements. Efforts have been made to be concise and current with all information, but as testing procedures and regulations change, some information may not be current. Many of these tests are only available with prior approval from MDH. It is impossible to address all situations in this guide, so please contact us with any questions.

Specimen Requirements for Bacillus anthracis

Back to Agent: Bacillus anthracis

Type of Infection
Specimen type
Minimum Volume
Collection Comments
Cutaneous anthrax
Vesicle Swab 2 swabs Vesicle should be unroofed and 2 sterile, dry swabs should be soaked in the vesicular fluid.
Vesicle Aspirate 1 ml An aspirate of the fluid is also an appropriate specimen.
Eschar Swab 2 swabs Roll swabs beneath the edge of the eschar without removing it.
Fresh/frozen tissue 1 punch biopsy For specialty testing, must be pre-approved by MDH
Stool 5 g If unable to obtain stool, obtain rectal swab by inserting swab 1 inch beyond anal sphincter.
Rectal swab 1 swab  
Inhalation anthrax Nasal swab 1 swab For epidemiologic purposes only. Useful only within 24 hours of exposure.
Sputum 1 ml If patient has a productive cough, this is the specimen of choice in the early course of the disease.
Tracheal aspirates, bronchoalveolar wash, etc. 1 ml  
Meningitis CSF 1 ml Centrifuge >1 ml of fluid
Blood EDTA blood 1 ml For molecular testing, must be pre-approved by MDH
Serum/plasma 2 ml To be sent to CDC for testing, must be pre-approved by MDH
Blood culture 5 ml Collect appropriate blood volume and number of sets per submitting lab’s protocol. Collect prior to antibiotic use if possible. Most likely to be positive in later stages of disease.
Blood in sodium polyanethol sulfonate (SPS) 8 ml Blood collected in SPS may be inoculated into blood culture bottles upon receipt at MDH.
Other Pleural fluid 1 ml  

Back to List by Agent