It is vital to ensure that the quality of samples is not compromised, the etiological agents remain viable, and the samples do not endanger the safety of those delivering or receiving them. The laboratories are required to reject any sample that is leaking or otherwise unsafe. The laboratory will be able to complete testing of samples without delay, if submitter:
- Provides all the information requested on the appropriate submission form.
- Sends pure cultures on fresh media in the appropriate transport container.
- Avoids sending cultures on inhibitory media.
- Packages sample containers in a leak-proof inner container, ensures that caps are tight to prevent leakage, uses custody seals for environmental samples.
- Follows proper chain of custody procedures when submitting forensic samples or samples submitted for regulatory enforcement.
- Observes any special temperature requirements.
- Ensures the outside of the mailing container indicates which laboratory section is to receive the samples (e.g., Enteric, Bacteriology, Parasitology, Environmental Chemistry).
- Avoids shipping over the weekend, except in an emergency.
- Conforms to current U.S. Postal Service regulations when shipping by U.S. mail.
- Contact your local post office for more information on these regulations.
- Conforms to current U.S. Department of Transportation regulations when shipping by courier or other means.
Each test performed by the Division of Laboratories is in support of the Illinois Department of Public Health’s mission, to support public health programs by providing surveillance data. As a result, it is critical that the reports for tests conducted by the Division of Laboratories are provided to submitters, local health departments and the Illinois Department of Public Health programs. Results are provided through a combination of mechanisms which included electronic laboratory reporting, fax and mailed paper results. If you have questions about a particular test and the mechanism by which it is reported, contact the Springfield laboratory at 217-782-6562 and speak to the data management staff.
Each laboratory location is open and accepts samples/specimens during regular business hours Monday –Friday. Division of Laboratories hours are 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. except on state designated holidays. The state of Illinois holiday schedule is available by clicking this link: Holiday schedule