Unknown Biological Threat Agent

Laboratory Fee Schedule 
Procedure #:  BTA0014
CPT:  87070, 88346, 87798

Synonym(s):  Unknown environmental sample, Multi-agent screen, “White Powder Letter”
Requisition Form G-27 (includes Chain of Custody)
Test Description Detection of Multiple Biological Threat Agent DNA by PCR and Biological Threat Toxin by TRF
Pre-Approval Needed Must notify BioThreat Team prior to sample submission: (512) 689-5537
Supplemental Information Required Threat Credibility Assessment by FBI and Field Screening for Flammability, Radioactivity, and Explosives Required prior to submission
Supplemental Form(s) N/A
Performed on Specimens from (sources) Environmental
Sample/Specimen Type for Testing
  • Envelope/letter/paper
  • Swabs
  • Packages
  • Wipes
  • Powders
  • Liquids
  • Plant material (e.g., leaf, flower, stalk)
  • Seeds or beans
Minimum Volume/Size Required N/A
Storage/Preservation Prior to Shipping Ambient
Transport Medium N/A
Specimen Labeling 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 and Time Resolved Fluorescence (TRF)
Turn-around Time Preliminary result 1 day after receipt, final result 5-21 days
  • Use dacron or rayon swabs for sample collection, as 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
  • incomplete or missing submission form
Additional Information Will be paired with Culture: All aerobes