Rabies Virus Microscopic-Direct Fluorescent Antibody Test

Laboratory Fee Schedule
Procedure #: MCM0300A 

Synonym(s):  Direct Fluorescent Antibody (DFA) Test, Lyssavirus
Requisition Form G-9
Test Description Fluorescent-labeled anti-rabies antibody incubated with brain tissue to detect Rabies virus in brain samples.
Pre-Approval Needed N/A
Supplemental Information Required Ensure Lab is notified of specimen submission by calling Rabies Hotline at 1-800-252-8163
Supplemental Form(s) N/A
Performed on Specimens from (sources) Deceased Non-Human Mammals
Sample/Specimen Type for Testing
  • Intact, fresh brain tissue
  • Very small animal carcass
  • Whole animal head
    • Avoid damage to the brain or head.
    • Carefully separate head from the body immediately.
Minimum Volume/Size Required
  • Animal head with brain intact (whole carcasses of small mammals such as bats, rats, or mice are accepted), or
  • Fresh Brain Tissue: Complete transverse cross section of the brain stem and a cross section of the cerebellum and/or hippocampus.
Storage/Preservation Prior to Shipping
  • Whole bats must be placed in clear, sealable plastic bags. 
  • Store at refrigeration temperatures (2°C–8°C). 
  • Do not submit live animals.
  • Do not freeze. 
  • Do not preserve tissue in formalin. 
Transport Medium N/A
Specimen Labeling Specimen label or identification must match submission form. If more than one specimen is being shipped, each one must be labeled with an identification name or number and must have its own submission form.
Shipping and Specimen Handling Requirements
  • See Rabies Specimen Shipping and Packing Instructions here.
  • Include ice packs and absorbent material. 
  • Ship according to Biological Substance, Category B UN3373 shipping requirements.
Method Direct Fluorescent Antibody
Turn-around Time 48 business hours from time of receipt at Laboratory.
  • Decomposition or destruction of brain tissue.
  • Freezing of specimen may prevent conclusive identification.
Common Causes for Rejection
  • Insufficient specimen submitted (minimum volume not met). 
  • Improperly stored specimen (extreme heat, fixed in formalin).
  • Failure to meet shipping or submission guidelines.
Additional Information May be paired with cell culture if confirmatory testing is required. This is a reflex test and cannot be requested by submitters.