Submitting a sample

General Guidelines

When submitting a sample, please complete an EM Request Form and include the sample type, species, collection date, and if possible, the suspected viral agent(s) or disease condition.


EM Viral Identification

For optimal results, specimens should be collected early in the acute phase of the illness and should be fresh. Many samples begin to degrade rapidly after collection; therefore, please ensure that samples are received by the laboratory as soon as possible.

Tissues, fluids, aspirates, or faecal material are always preferred over swabs. Only submit swabs if no other sample options are available.

Please send tissues, faeces, and fluids in clean, leak-proof containers. There should be no material present on the outside of the container.

Never send a syringe with the needle attached. If transfer of the fluid to another tube is not possible, use a syringe cap to secure the material in the syringe.

For fluid or faecal samples, a volume ranging from 0.5µl to 1ml is generally sufficient. For intact animal tissues, please only send the relevant organ, lesion, or biopsy.

To ensure the best results, store and send samples at refrigeration temperatures.

Our goal is to provide a turnaround time of one (working) day. However, please note that this is subject to laboratory workload and staff availability.


Ultrastructural Pathology

For optimal outcomes, place biopsied tissue in a 2.5% buffered glutaraldehyde solution (available from the EM Unit) immediately after biopsy. Any delay in fixation can significantly affect results. The ratio of tissue to fixative should be approximately 1:10 to avoid under-fixation.

Samples fixed in formalin, embedded in wax blocks, or histology slides can also be used, although results may vary.

Our target turnaround time is 5-10 (working) days. However, please be aware that this is subject to laboratory workload and staff availability.


Kindly send your samples to the following address:

EM Unit, 1st Floor, Anatomy Building

Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort Campus

Onderstepoort, Pretoria


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