Shipping Biological Materials

Materials Regulated by DOT/IATA

The following materials are regulated by DOT/IATA and require special packaging, labeling, and documentation.

In addition, you must complete a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) to ship materials off campus, and ensure any required permits to import, export, or transfer materials have been obtained.

  • Category A Infectious Substances
    • An infectious substance which is transported in a form that, when exposure to the material occurs, is capable of causing permanent disability, life-threatening or fatal disease in otherwise healthy humans or animals
    • A diagnostic specimen that is suspected of containing a Category A Infectious Substance
    • A patient specimen that is suspected of containing a Category A Infectious Substance

    Examples of Category A

    • Bacillus anthracis (cultures only)
    • Brucella abortus (cultures only)
    • Brucella melitensis (cultures only)
    • Brucella suis (cultures only)
    • Burkholderia mallei - Pseudomonas mallei - Glanders (cultures only) 
    • Burkholderia pseudomalli -Pseudomonas pseudomallei (cultures only) 
    • Chlamydia psittaci - avian strains (cultures only)
    • Clostridium botulinum (cultures only)
    • Coccidioides immitis (cultures only)
    • Coxiella burnetii (cultures only)
    • Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus
    • Dengue virus (cultures only)
    • Eastern equine encephalitis virus (cultures only)
    • Escherichia coli, verotoxigenic (cultures only)
    • Ebola virus
    • Flexal virus
    • Francisella tularensis (cultures only)
    • Guanarito virus
    • Hantaan virus
    • Hantaviruses causing hantavirus pulmonary syndrome
    • Hendra virus
    • Hepatitis B virus (cultures only)
    • Herpes B virus (cultures only)
    • Human immunodeficiency virus (cultures only)
    • Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (cultures only)
    • Japanese Encephalitis virus (cultures only) 
    • Junin virus
    • Kyasanur Forest disease virus
    • Lassa virus
    • Machupo virus
    • Marburg virus
    • Monkeypox virus
    • Mycobacterium tuberculosis (cultures only)
    • Nipah virus
    • Omsk hemorrhagic fever virus
    • Poliovirus (cultures only)
    • Rabies virus
    • Rickettsia prowazekii (cultures only)
    • Rickettsia rickettsii (cultures only)
    • Rift Valley fever virus
    • Russian spring-summer encephalitis virus (cultures only)
    • Sabia virus
    • Shigella dyseteriae type 1 (cultures only)
    • Tick-borne encephalitis virus (cultures only)
    • Variola virus
    • Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus
    • West Nile virus (cultures only)
    • Yellow fever virus (cultures only)
  • Category B Infectious Substances
    • Category B infectious substances are those infectious substances which do not meet the criteria for inclusion in Category A
    • Patient specimens suspected of containing a Category B Infectious Substance
  • Genetically Modified Organisms/ Microorganisms
    Genetically modified organisms and micro-organisms (organisms and micro-organisms in which genetic material has been purposely altered through genetic engineering in a way that does not occur naturally) which are capable of altering animals, plants or microbiological substances in a way which is not normally the result of natural reproduction.
  • Dry Ice

    The shipment of ANY biological materials on dry ice is regulated.

    It is illegal to ship regulated biological materials without the proper training due to the ever-changing regulations and heavy documentation that must accompany each shipment. Training is also required when shipping on dry ice as a refrigerant.

Materials Not Regulated by DOT/IATA

The following are not regulated for shipping by IATA/DOT unless they are packaged with another material that is regulated (e.g. dry ice); however, you must still complete a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) to ship materials off campus.

  • Materials Exempt from IATA/DOT Regulations

    1. Patient specimens with minimal likelihood that pathogens are present

    • Patient specimens are defined as those collected directly from humans or animals, including, but not limited to, excreta, secreta, blood and its components, tissue and tissue fluid swabs, and body parts being transported for purposes such as research, diagnosis, investigational activities, disease treatment and prevention.
    • In determining whether a patient specimen has a minimal likelihood that pathogens are present, an element of professional judgment is required to determine if a substance is exempt. That judgment should be based on the known medical history, symptoms and individual circumstances of the source, human or animal, and endemic local conditions.
    • Examples of specimens that can be transported as patient specimens
      • Blood or urine tests to monitor cholesterol levels, blood glucose levels, hormone levels, or prostate specific antigens
      • Tests required to monitor organ function such as heart, liver or kidney function for humans or animals with non-infectious diseases, or therapeutic drug monitoring
      • Tests conducted for insurance or employment purposes and are intended to determine the presence of drugs or alcohol
      • Pregnancy tests
      • Biopsies to detect cancer
      • Antibody detection

    Patient specimen package must be labeled either: "Exempt human specimens" or "Exempt animal specimens."

    2. Substances that do not contain infectious substances or substances which are unlikely to cause disease in humans or animals

    3. Substances in a form that any present pathogens have been neutralized or inactivated such that they no longer pose a health risk

    4. Substances containing microorganisms, which are non-pathogenic to humans or animals

    5. Dried blood spots collected by applying a drop of blood onto absorbent material, or fecal occult blood screening tests and blood or blood components, which have been collected for the purposes of transfusion

    6. Tissues or organs intended for transplantation

    7. Environmental samples (including food and water samples), which are not considered to pose a significant risk of infection

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