Guidance for diagnostic sample packaging and shipping 

What you decide to ship to SCWDS may vary with each mortality event and objectives of the investigation. However, simple goals of sample submission are to: 1) send appropriate samples, 2) maintain sample quality, 3) protect human health (biosafety), 4) sample and potential pathogen containment (biosecurity). There are very simple steps to take to meet these goals. These concepts apply regardless of whether samples are shipped or delivered in-person.

Key Considerations:


  • Contact SCWDS prior to shipment (706-542-1741). We can help with decisions on what to submit and help coordinate delivery.

Cold chain:

  • Start and maintain cold chain as soon as possible (ideally in field).
  • Ship packages with adequate blue ice packs (never wet ice).

Secondary containment/double bagging:

  • All samples need two levels of containment to help contain leaks.
  • Tubes and other vials are a primary container but these samples should be placed in a secondary sealable bag (e.g., ZipLoc or WhirlPac).


  • Legibly label each sample.
  • Place completed submission form in ZipLoc bag and put in cooler.

Absorbent material:

  • Absorbent material (e.g., newspaper, paper towels, puppy pads) should be placed in every shipment to absorb fluid that may accidentally leak from the sample or carcass.

Disinfection and cleanliness:

  • When possible, you can spray outside of bags with disinfectant.
  • Avoid touching secondary bag and outside of cooler with soiled or contaminated hands.
  • Mail carriers and others will handle your package without knowing what inside. Hard/rigid shipping container.
  • Use rigid styrofoam cooler with cardboard shell or hard-sided plastic beverage cooler

Ship overnight on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday 

  • Shipping Thursday risks weekend arrival as carriers will not deliver to SCWDS on weekends.
  • Call before shipping to avoid delays.

Ship to:

SCWDS Diagnostics
Wildlife Health Building
589 D.W. Brooks Drive
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602

Send tracking information to the SCWDS email address: [email protected]

Visual guidance for carcass/tissue submission packaging

Example of good packaging for carcass submission

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