Rabies Suspect Samples

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Rabies Suspect Samples

Rabies Suspect Samples

Samples for rabies testing should NOT be sent to the Animal Health Diagnostic Center! All Rabies Viral FA testing is performed by the NYS Department of Health's Wadsworth Center Rabies Laboratory in Albany. Please review the information at Wadsworth Center Rabies Laboratory for all sample collection, paperwork and shipping instructions for samples submitted to the NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH) rabies testing laboratory. There are important special instructions related to submitting for emergency testing on weekends and holidays.

In the event that rabies testing is required or recommended on an animal submitted to the AHDC for a complete necropsy exam, or when a sufficient brain sample is submitted to the AHDC for other testing, the AHDC will cooperate with the NYSDOH Rabies testing laboratory and submit available samples. This may delay testing by at least one day, depending on how samples arrive at the AHDC. Delays may be longer if weekends or holidays are imminent. In all cases, the submitter must still complete the appropriate animal rabies specimen history form required by the NYSDOH.

Submission of a rabies specimen requires prior approval of the local health authority (county health department or district office of the State Health Department). Emergency and after-hour exceptions can be made with the approval of the:

New York State Health Department Wadsworth Center Rabies Laboratory:
Telephone 518-485-6464     After-hours 518-527-7369     or     518-527-7370

Acceptable specimens include only:

  • rabies suspect mammals for which there has been a reported bite, scratch, or other possible saliva or nervous tissue exposure to a human.
  • rabies suspect mammals with reported bites to (or other "intimate" contact with) a domestic animal.
  • all bats encountered in situations where human or domestic animal contacts cannot conclusively be ruled out.
  • highly suspect surveillance specimens (no reported contacts), including (i) rabies vector species showing clear signs of rabies infection, from an area without previous confirmed case; (ii) a mammal not commonly recognized as a rabies vector, but showing clear signs of rabies infection; (iii) a domestic animal that dies or is euthanized under the care of a veterinarian for which rabies is part of the differential diagnosis of neurologic disorder.
  • specimens associated with laboratory-approved enhanced surveillance programs associated with wildlife vaccination programs..

Please see packaging and shipping instructions at Wadsworth Center Rabies Laboratory for all specimens shipped for rabies testing.

Rabies diagnosis is performed weekdays from 8:00 am - 4:30 pm. Specimens received evenings, weekends, or holidays are processed the next regular workday.

Emergency Examination

Emergency/off-hours rabies testing of animals must be reviewed and approved in advance of shipping sample. During normal business hours call (518) 473-4439, or after hours contact the NYSDOH Duty Officer at (866) 881-2809. .