High Risk Specimens and Safety


All pathological specimens are considered as being potentially hazardous and/or infectious and standard precautions should be applied to every specimen, as it is essential to remember that there may be infectious patients or specimens that have not been identified as presenting a particular risk of infection.

‘Standard Precautions’ is the term applied to the handling of pathology specimens. This is based on a risk assessment of individual specimen types with regard to the potential of a microbiological agent being present and the need for the use of specific personal protective equipment, (e.g. gloves, face protection).

The Trust’s ‘Standard Infection Control Precautions Policy’ can be accessed in the Policies section on Bob, or by clicking here.

Specimen Spillage

Refer to guidance on the ‘Spillage and/or Leaking Specimens‘ page.

High Risk Samples

There is no special procedure for handling or transporting any pathological sample that traditionally may have been considered ‘High Risk’ with the exception of viral haemorrhagic fever cases.

No specimens should be taken from patients suspected of being infected with Viral Haemorrhagic Fever (e.g. Lassa Fever; Marburg; Ebola; Yellow Fever), without the prior agreement of the Consultant Microbiologist: ext.2320 (01271 322320). Refer to the Trusts Viral Haemorrhagic Fever Policy on Tarkanet. here

Last updated: October 24, 2019