GENERAL INFORMATION FOR TRANSPORTATION OF SPECIMENS

Referred specimens must always be prepared, packaged and transported in accordance with current international shipping guidelines and IATA (International Air Transport Association) regulations.

  1. Incoming Receipt Notifications (including baggage tags, airway bill number) should be sent to the Laboratory using the following means of communication -

    Data Entry and Reporting Unit
    Fax: 1-868-628-9302
    Tel: 1-868-622-4261/2
    Email: customerservice@carpha.org

  2. All packages must be addressed in the following manner:

    The Director of CARPHA
    The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA)
    16-18 Jamaica Boulevard
    Federation Park
    Port of Spain
    Trinidad, W.I.

SUBMISSION OF SPECIMENS TO CARPHA

Specimens must be routed through the relevant National Reference/Public Health Laboratory or the Ministry of Health.

The following minimum information must accompany each specimen

  1. A labelled specimen container with the following information:
    • National Patient ID/Laboratory Number
    • Date of collection
    • Specimen type
  2. Completed CARPHA Laboratory Investigation form (Refer to page. 8) or Country’s Laboratory form with similar information

SPECIMENS SUBMITTED UNDER THE EXPANDED PROGRAMME ON IMMUNIZATION (EPI)

Please check the EPI field guide or the EPI manager in-country for further information for the following vaccine preventable diseases covered under the EPI elimination or eradication programme:

  • Congenital rubella syndrome
  • Measles
  • Poliomyelitis
  • Rubella (German measles)

INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR ALL SPECIMENS SUBMITTED TO CARPHA

Indicate the following details on the CARPHA Laboratory Investigation form

Section Essential Information
1. Patient Information Patient demographics e.g. National Patient ID and/or Laboratory Number, Age, D.O.B., Sex, Address, Occupation (where relevant)
2. Referring Doctor Name of Referral Doctor/ Hospital with contact information
3. Provisional Diagnosis, Additional Notes
  • Clinical diagnosis
  • Travel history
4. Food/Animal/Environment Sample Details Specimen type
5. Case Type of case e.g. Single/Outbreak/Survey
6. Date of Onset of Illness Date of onset of illness
7. Outcome Hospitalization status or death
8. Signs and Symptoms Clinical signs and symptoms
9. Syndromic Classification  
10. Immunization History When applicable - travel history; vaccination history/status
Laboratory Use and Physician/EHO Use
  • LABORATORY INVESTIGATION(S) requested
  • Date of collection of specimen(s)
  • Laboratory results of all tests performed in country re that specimen, including date tested
  • Date specimen referred to CARPHA for testing

Specimen Rejection

Specimens may be rejected based upon the following criteria however this decision will be made on a case by case basis and the submitting agency will be notified

SPECIMEN REJECTION CRITERIA FURTHER ACTION
Unlabelled or mislabelled specimen Submitting agency will be notified that specimen will be discarded
  • Specimens with insufficient volume
  • Specimen deemed not to be of an acceptable quality for processing at CARPHA
  • Submitting agency will be notified and new specimens will be requested by CARPHA
  • Submitting agency will be notified and specimen will be discarded

Specimens without the following information:

  • Clinical diagnosis and/or signs and symptoms
  • Date of onset of symptoms
  • Date of specimen collection
  • The submitting agency will receive notification requesting the required information prior to testing.
  • Specimens will be appropriately stored awaiting the requested information
Illegible patient documentation. A request for clarification of information will be sent to the submitting agency for urgent resolution
Inappropriate container or specimen type for the test requested. Submitting agency will be notified and new specimens will be requested

NOTE: All specimens referred to and received at CARPHA remain the property of CARPHA