PCR: Clostridium Botulinum Toxin Genes

Laboratory Fee Schedule
Procedure #: BTA0040
CPT: 87798

Synonym (s): Clostridium botulinum toxin gene PCR, Botulism
Requisition Form G-27A
Test Description Detection of Clostridium botulinum toxin genes by PCR (Note: this detects the presence of toxin genes, which may or may not actively express toxin)
Pre-Approval Needed
  • DSHS Epidemiology consultation with physician required. 
  • Must notify Biothreat Team prior to sample submission: (512) 689-5537.
Supplemental Information Required Patient History
Supplemental Form(s) N/A
Performed on Specimens from (sources)
  • Human
  • Environmental
  • Food (associated with a positive clinical sample)
Sample/Specimen Type for Testing
  • Anaerobic isolate 
  • Stool 
  • Gastric 
  • Water enema 
  • Wound swab 
  • Tissue 
  • Food (associated with a positive clinical sample)
Minimum Volume/Size Required


  • Infant 10 g or 5 mL enema
  • Adult 50 g or 5 mL enema 

Vomitus or gastric aspirate

  • 20 mL 


  • 50 g

Wound swab

  • 1 required, 2 preferred.


  • Pea-sized sample
Storage/Preservation Prior to Shipping

Wound and tissue.

  • Maintain at ambient temperature.               

All others

  • Maintain at 2° to 8° C (refrigerated)
Transport Medium Isolates sent in anaerobic transport media
Specimen Labeling


  • Two patient-specific identifiers required (e.g., patient full name, date of birth, medical record number)
  • Identifiers on specimen must exactly match submission form.

Non-Human, Environmental or Food

  • Sample identification must match submission form.
Shipping and Specimen Handling Requirements
  • Ship according to Dangerous Good Regulations, IATA, and/or CFR 49.
  • Handled as infectious agent using universal precautions.
  • Triple contained in accordance with federal shipping regulations for infectious agents.
  • See also Emergency Preparedness resources online.
  • Notify Biothreat Team prior to sample submission: (512) 689-5537.
Method PCR
Turn-around Time 7- 14 days
Interferences/Limitations Use dacron or rayon swabs for sample collection, as cotton swabs interfere with PCR.
Common Causes for Rejection
  • Insufficient quantity
  • Unacceptable specimen type or source
  • Improper shipping conditions
  • Expired media or collection container
  • Discrepancies between specimen label and submission form
  • Incomplete or missing submission form
Additional Information May be paired with Culture: Botulinum (human) and/or Botulinum- Toxin assay.