Lab Test

Specimen Collection Manual: Tissue (Skin, Sub-Cutaneous, Etc.), Fluid Collection - Viral



  • Sterile syringe, 2-5 mL.
  • Sterile screw-capped collection container.
  • UTM or UVT transport medium.

Specimen Collection Criteria

  • Tissues: Collect tissues aseptically taking care to prevent cross-contamination when specimens are taken from multiple sites.
    • Use different tubes of transport media for tissue specimens from different sites.
    • Autopsy specimens should be collected within 24 hours of the time of death
  • Vesicle Fluid Collection: Select a vesicle containing clear fluids. The efficiency of virus detection decreases significantly when pustular fluids are collected.
    • Aseptically unroof the lesion and blot the excess fluid with a swab.
    • Gently rub the base of the lesion with a flocked ESwab to collect infected epithelial cells.
    • Place the swab in viral transport medium and break the shaft at the perforation so that it will fit into the vial.
  • Fluids: Aspirate into a sterile syringe (2-5 mL). Transfer the aspirate into a sterile, screw-capped collection container.

Rejection Criteria

  • Do not submit tissues for culture in formalin, or in containers that ever contained formalin.
  • Do not use expired media. Check expiration date on all media prior to use.    

In-Lab Processing

  • Small tissue specimens should be placed into viral transport medium.

If the Specimen is for:


Viral Culture

Small tissue specimens should be placed into UTM or UVT transport medium.


Do NOT place into UTM or UVT. Submit in a sterile, screw-capped collection container.

  • Send specimens to the Laboratory on wet ice or with a cold pack. Do not freeze. Specimens may be stored refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F) for up to 24 hours. If longer delays are anticipated, specimens should be frozen at -70°C.

    utm universal viral transport medium
     UTM UVT 


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