Who can submit specimens for testing?

  • The diagnostic facilities of the Wadsworth Center are a reference service available to laboratories testing specimens from New York State patients.
  • Local health departments and clinical laboratories may submit specimens for reference testing to the Diagnostic Immunology Laboratory at the Wadsworth Center.
  • Private citizens and health practitioners may not directly submit specimens. Please contact your local (city or county) health department to discuss specimen submission when applicable.
  • Please use local laboratory services whenever available. Contact us with any questions regarding specimen submission.

Confirmatory Testing:

Refer to the Communicable Disease Reporting Guidelines 2020 published by the New York State Department of Health/New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Primary Testing Supplies

Shipping kits contain Infectious Disease Requisition (IDR) and shipping materials, but the submitter must provide their own specimen tube. Serology testing on serum will be performed by the Diagnostic Immunology Laboratory. The Diagnostic Immunology Laboratory will forward specimens for PCR to the appropriate laboratory if submitted. No kits are provided for confirmatory testing. For CSF VDRL the submitter must provide the specimen in a sterile, twist top tube. Call the Wadsworth Center Order Desk at 518-474-4175 for shipping kits and please allow enough time for processing.

Specimen Collection and Storage

  1. Obtain blood specimens (red top/SST or equivalent tube) aseptically using approved venipuncture techniques by qualified personnel.
  2. Allow specimens to clot at room temperature and then centrifuge.
  3. Transfer serum to screw-top, plastic tubes and store at 2 – 8°C before shipment.
  4. If specimens are frozen prior to shipment, ship them frozen. Refrigerated specimens should be sent on frozen cold packs. 

    Serum is the preferred specimen source for all serologic testing. Plasma is acceptable for a very limited number of tests (please call for prior approval). Acute serum should be collected at the onset of symptoms. Convalescent specimens should follow 2 to 4 weeks later. Paired sera will be tested together. Lipemic, hemolyzed, or contaminated sera may cause erroneous results and should be avoided as should repeated freeze-thaw cycles. CSF should be sent in screw-top, plastic tubes. 

    If PCR is requested for the Viral Encephalitis/Meningitis Program panel specimens must be frozen and shipped on dry ice to the Viral Encephalitis Laboratory (VEL) first. Refrigerated CSF is acceptable for a limited number of serologic tests. Please see detailed collection and shipping instructions for VEL. Unfrozen CSF samples may be rejected for PCR so please call if there are any questions regarding shipping. Specimens for serology will be forwarded to Diagnostic Immunology (DIL) from the VEL. Please state the preferred testing (PCR or serology) if the volume of CSF is under 1mL. Serum specimens accompanying CSF may be shipped together. VEL will forward serum to DIL for the serology testing.


If you have access to the Health Commerce System (HCS) and the Clinical Laboratory Information Management System (CLIMS), follow steps below:

  • Log onto the Health Commerce System (HCS)
  • Select 'CLIMS'
  • Select 'Remote Order'
  • Click on the tab that indicates the type of sample you would like to submit: human, animal, environmental, etc.
  • Fill in the screens, ‘Place the Order’, print form and submit with specimen.

This method provides many advantages over paper submission including specimen tracking, notification when results become available, online access to results and access to testing catalog. Should you encounter difficulty, please access the Reference Guide in the Remote Order application or contact CLIMS.

Note: If you are from a licensed clinical laboratory with a valid PFI number or county or regional health department your HIN/HCS coordinator can grant you access to CLIMS (and create your HCS account if needed). For all other access, the Request for Access to the Wadsworth Center Laboratory Information Management System (CLIMS) form must be completed, signed and faxed to (518) 474-8140 or (518) 473-1326.

If you do not have access to HCS/CLIMS, complete the Infectious Diseases Requisition form, print and send with the specimen. 

For each non-CLEP certified test, complete a Non-permitted Laboratory Test Form.


Ship Monday through Thursday, excluding days preceding holidays. Include a frozen cold pack for serum, plasma and CSF intended for serology only and include dry ice for CSF and/or serum intended for PCR and serology. Shipping addresses appear on the right-hand side of all Diagnostic Immunology web pages.

Rejection Criteria

The specimen will be rejected if:

  • The patient identifier on the specimen does not match that on the IDR.
  • There is evidence of microbial contamination, excessive hemolysis or lipemia.
  • There is insufficient volume for testing:
    • Less than 1.0 mL CSF for serology
    • Less than 1.0 mL plasma
    • Less than 1.0 mL serum