Skip all navigation Skip to page navigation

DHHS Home | Assistance | Divisions | About DHHS | DHHS Contacts

NC Department of Health and Human Services
State Laboratory of Public Health
N.C. Public Health Home

Virology / Serology: CDC Referral

General Information

Serologic tests for antibodies to some bacterial, fungal, parasitic, chlamydial, rickettsial, and viral agents not performed at this laboratory are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, Georgia.

For questions on testing conducted at CDC, please consult the CDC Test Directory, which provides specimen information, test parameters, turn-around times, and CDC contact information for each test offered at CDC.

Specimen Acceptance Policy

Services are available to all health care providers. Only serum may be submitted for serologic testing. Specimens must be submitted through the State Laboratory of Public Health, Virology/Serology Unit in the same manner as those for special serology specimens. Specific requirements for specimen submission vary depending upon the nature of the infectious agent involved and the assay requested. In general, all specimens submitted to the State Laboratory to be forwarded to the CDC must include the patient's age, sex, onset date of illness, specimen collection date, specimen type, pertinent history, and clinical information.

Specimen Collection and Identification

Submit 2 mL of serum in a plastic screw-capped vial. Hemolyzed, icteric, or lipemic serum may be unacceptable for certain serologic assays. Clearly label each vial of serum with the patient's name (first and last), either SSN, date of birth, or other unique identifier, and the date collected if paired sera are submitted. Complete a Special Serology Form #3445 (PDF, 192 KB) specifying all required patient information and which infectious agents are suspected. Specimens sent to the CDC for testing also require a fully completed CDC 50.34 DASH Form (PDF, 591 KB), which must be completed online and printed by the submitter.

Specimens submitted for diagnostic testing labeled with incorrect patient identification information will not be forwarded for testing. Patient identification includes full first and last name and either SSN, date of birth, or other unique identifier. Specimens which, for any reason, are deemed unsuitable or inappropriate for diagnostic testing will not be tested. Rejected specimens will be properly stored for ten days pending verbal and/or written notification of the submitter. Unless alternate arrangements are initiated by the submitter upon notification of specimen rejection, the specimen will be discarded at the end of the holding period.


Properly identified vials of patient sera along with the completed submission forms should be sent in the blue-colored specimen mailers labeled SPECIAL SEROLOGY. For detailed shipping instructions using the double mailers, see Packing Instructions Using Outer Baggie (PDF, 4.6 MB). Ship at ambient temperature by the State Courier or U.S. Mail. Specimens should be shipped immediately and should arrive in the laboratory within 48 hours of collection. Specimens may be shipped refrigerated or at ambient temperature. If transport to the laboratory is to be delayed, specimens can be refrigerated up to seven days or frozen.

Serum transport tubes and blue-colored specimen mailers are available through the NCSLPH online supply ordering system at this website. Special Serology Form #3445 (PDF, 192 KB) and CDC 50.34 DASH Form (PDF, 591 KB) may be downloaded and printed from this website.

Reporting Procedures and Interpretation

The average turn-around time in which results can be expected back from the CDC is about three weeks. Interpretation of test results is included in the report, if sufficient clinical information was included on the submission form. CDC test results will be forwarded to the original submitter by NCSLPH.

Virology/Serology Information