11.2 Data recorded for incoming samples (accessioning)

Mick Mulders

A case investigation form is completed for each suspected measles or rubella case investigated. A separate laboratory request form should be completed at the time of specimen collection and should accompany all specimens sent to the laboratory. Information on specimen labels must be carefully checked to ensure that it matches information on the request forms. The information that should be included can be viewed on the template for a laboratory request form, Annex 11.1.

Upon receipt of a specimen the laboratory should record the following information:

  • date specimen received in laboratory
  • adequacy of specimen (e.g. volume)
  • condition of specimen (integrity of container, temperature)
  • processing steps if appropriate (elution, separation, centrifugation)
  • storage location

Any problems or issues with the timeliness of samples or the condition or adequacy of the specimen should be communicated immediately to the EPI manager.

Each specimen should be allocated a specific identification number that is entered in the laboratory ledger or “day book”, on the accompanying request form, and on the specimen vial or container. This may be an abbreviated version of the Identification Number for the case or a sequential unique laboratory number. This number must be used on all containers, centrifuge tubes, test tubes and vials throughout subsequent laboratory procedures. Different aliquots should also have separate numbers (may be derived from the laboratory number, and records kept as to where the aliquots are stored). If possible samples and aliquots should receive a bar-code to reduce transcription errors. Each sample must have a link to the case identification number (such as Epi Info) used by the country’s surveillance programme.