5.5.14 What quality criteria should samples fulfil to guarantee reliable results?

As a principle, only good quality (fresh) samples should be considered for testing, to avoid negative effects on the results. Canine teeth should be removed intact to give an additional indication of age by analysing the size of the pulpa cavity. Teeth and bone should be cleared from any surrounding muscle (flesh).

In certain countries, high quality sera are collected using a targeted approach (for more information, see here). However, this method is very time and labour intensive and often not practicable.

As an alternative, blood samples taken from submitted foxes during necropsies are used. Often, only body fluids obtained from the thoracic or abdominal cavity are available. In any case, any sera or body fluid collected from the field should be pre-treated prior to testing (centrifugation, heat inactivation in pre-diluted form) to avoid toxic effects, especially in seroneutralisation assays. All samples should be assigned a laboratory number to allow it to be traced back in case of unexpected results and to avoid mixing it up with other samples.


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Version 1 - Last updated November 2012