Definitive ID: Yersinia pestis

Laboratory Fee Schedule

Procedure #: BTA0015

CPT: 87040, 87070, 87077



Plague, yersinia pestis

Requisition Form


Test Description

Culture Identification for Yersinia pestis

Pre-Approval Needed

Must notify BioThreat Team prior to sample submission: (512) 689-5537

Supplemental Information Required


Supplemental Form(s)


Performed on Specimens from (sources)

Non-human (Bacterial), Human, Environmental

Sample/Specimen Type for Testing

Pure culture isolates, sputum, whole blood, fluids/aspirates, tissue, and swab.  Non-clinical specimens: soil, water, grass, water dacron swab, air filter, food, paper, letter, powder, animal (tissue, blood, bone, skin), dried organic matter (hair or wood)

Minimum Volume/Size Required

1 ml for fluids, 50 g for food, 1 inch square for paper or letter, 1 agar slant or plate for culture

Storage/Preservation Prior to Shipping

Culture isolates ambient, other samples 2-8°C (cold)

Transport Medium

Do not send swabs on transport medium.  Do not send tissues in formalin.

Specimen Labeling


  • At least 2 patient specific identifiers: First and last name as one identifier and a DOB or a unique patient specific identifier (e.g. medical record number).
  • Specimen identification must match submission form.
  • Non-Human or Environmental
  • 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.


Conventional biochemical methods

Turn-around Time

Preliminary results 1 day after receipt, final results 1 - 21 days


Use Dacron or rayon swabs for sample collection, cotton swabs interfere with PCR.  Improper storage or shipping temperatures may limit organism recovery.

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, and/or incomplete or missing submission form

Additional Information

Will be paired with PCR: Yersinia pestis.