Packing and transport

Packaging Information

The majority of packages containing samples to be sent to the Institute will only require to be sent in a sturdy package and will not be subject to transport regulations for dangerous goods.

Samples should be labelled "Diagnostic Sample"

Responsibility for ensuring suitable and correct packaging is used lies with the sender.

Packaging and transport of Histology samples

It is advised that, if possible, tissues are fixed for 24 hours prior to transport. Samples can then be drained of formalin, wrapped in wet tissue and placed in sealable plastic bags for transport. This avoids transporting buffered formalin pots in the post and reduces the weight of the parcel. As long as tissues remain moist after fixation then they will remain in a suitable state for histopathological processing. Tissues freshly placed in buffered formalin pots can be transported if it is important to submit the samples to the laboratory quickly.

Tissues in formalin should not be send in the same parcel as bacteriology plates or virology tissues.

Packaging and transport of Bacteriology plates

Fish for bacteriological analysis are preferably submitted live to the Institute but if plates have to be transported to the laboratory then some simple precautions should be taken.

  • Tape up all plates round the edge using a flexible film e.g. Nescofilm.
  • When sealing fix pots or bacterial agar plates for sending samples please DO NOT USE SELLOTAPE but use plastic or insulating tape.
  • Pack plates in a solid container which will not get damaged during transport.
  • Label plates clearly on the base with sample number
  • Do not place plates in the same package as formalin samples

Packaging and transport of Virology samples

The following sampling procedures are intended to provide a general guide for Cell Culture and Molecular based testing. Please contact Virology Laboratory staff directly if you require further clarification or advice.

Virology Samples for Cell Culture Testing

  • Prior notification before sending samples since cell cultures required to be prepared in advance. Usually 2-3 days notice is sufficient.
  • Samples should only be taken from recently killed or freshly moribund fish.
  • For individual or pooled samples (excluding fry and fingerling fish pools) the total weight from all the organs should be around 1 - 2g of tissue.
  • Samples should be taken as quickly as possible using clean scalpel blades between different batches or pools. They should be kept cool (2-8°C) and transported immediately to the Virology Laboratory (See packaging and transport guidelines).
  • The samples must not be frozen.

General viral screening: Sampling 

Fry: Remove and discard heads and tails from posterior to the vent. Retain the remaining portion of the body.

Fingerlings: Open the body cavity and remove the viscera including kidney by cutting and scraping. Retain these tissues for examination.

Larger Fish: For general viral screening remove and retain a portion of the kidney, spleen, caecae-pancreas, liver and gill in the weight ratio of approximately 3:1:1:1:1. 

Please Note
Tissues from a maximum of 10 fry or fingerlings may be pooled and treated as one sample. When larger fish are sampled, tissues from a maximum of 5 fish may be pooled and treated as one sample. Details of the tissue required to be sampled for specific viral disease testing can be arranged by direct consultation with Virology Staff.