All specimens from patients who are identified as (or are likely to be) in the high risk category must be clearly labelled to ensure the health and safety of all staff.
The following are common hazard group 3 pathogens considered high risk (this list is not exhaustive): HIV, AIDS, TB, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Specimens from patients who are immunosuppressed, drug abusers and other high risk groups are also considered high risk.
Any samples taken where the patient is suspected of having TB MUST be divided within theatre so as to provide sufficient samples for Histology (sent in formalin) and Microbiology (Sent in an empty sterile container).
To ensure health and safety of staff, high risk specimens are to be fully fixed before being processed by the laboratory. The date and time that the specimen is taken should be recorded on the request card for all high risk specimens to enable the laboratory to calculate the fixation time on receipt. This information will minimise the infection risk to staff and prevent undue delay to processing.
Frozen sections and immunofluorescence investigations will not be performed on any high risk or potentially high risk specimen
(Last reviewed February 2019)