October 24, 2014

Com-Pac International, Inc., a leader in the design and manufacture of Com-Pac International has manufactured laboratory specimen handling, storage and shipping products for over 25 years.  Due to the recent Ebola and Enterovirus outbreaks, Com-Pac has added several new specimen handling products designed specifically around the recently provided guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) relating to packaging and shipping these viruses.  We have attached the two documents from the CDC which provide this guidance.

Specifically, Ebola specimens must be shipped as an “Infectious Substance, Affecting Humans, Category A,” and is assigned UN 2814.  Further, the CDC has specified that specimens should be shipped either frozen or refrigerated at 2ºC – 8ºC.

Enterovirus specimens should be shipped as a “Biological Substance, Category B,” and is assigned UN 3373.  The CDC has specified that these specimens should be shipped frozen on dry ice.

The above Categories (either A or B) which have been assigned to these substances determines the packaging requirements for each type and is regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT in the U.S. and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) internationally.  You and your employer can be subject to fines and penalties if the packaging regulations are not followed.

All of Com-Pac’s shippers designated for use with Category A and Category B specimens have been tested and certified to comply with the UN 6.2 Dangerous Goods Regulations, 49 CFR D.O.T. regulations for air and ground shipments and IATA Packaging Instructions 620 and 650.  Each of our shippers comes complete with all required absorbents, labels and labeling instructions, and shipping declarations.

Com-Pac’s new INFECON® 6200 is comprised of a ½ liter UN certified vessel, bubble wrap, and a carton with the required UN markings to contain the vessel.  This vessel will hold up to 6 standard blood tubes.  The vessel in its carton is to be placed in the overpack cooler which is also provided, with refrigerated gel packs or dry ice if you are shipping Ebola, or dry ice if you are shipping Enterovirus.

The INFECON® 6300 is identical to the 6200 except the UN certified vessel has a 1 liter capacity and will hold up to 20 standard blood tubes.

It is important to follow all required labeling instructions, but particular attention should be given to the following:

  • When shipping Ebola (a Category A specimen), the Infectious Substance label must be affixed to the outside of the cooler, whether or not you are shipping on dry ice or with gel packs;
  • If you are shipping Ebola on dry ice, you must additionally affix the dry ice label to the outside of the cooler;
  • When shipping Enterovirus (a Category B specimen), you must not affix the Infectious Substance label to the cooler, but you must affix the dry ice label to the cooler.

It should also be noted on the attached Ebola Guidance Sheet that the CDC reminds healthcare workers that 29 CFR 1910.1030 “requires that specimens should be placed is a durable, leak-proof secondary container for transport in a facility.”  The typical bio-hazard bag is not guaranteed leak-proof.  However, Com-Pac’s line of Bitran® and Infecon® resealable specimen bags have been independently tested under regulations specifying the definition of “leak-proof” and comply with all such requirements.

On page 2 of the attached brochure, you will find information on each of these specimen bag lines, as well as the new Bitran® Bubble Pouch Bags which combine the leak-proof capability of our Bitran® Bags with a compartmented bubble pouch for safe and convenient handling of specimens within the facility.  We have also provided several helpful links to websites which address regulations on specimen handling and shipping.

Remember that all of the components of our shippers may be purchased separately for refurbishment and re-use.  We also specialize in custom bag sizes, printing, sequential barcoding and offer hundreds of other specimen handling and shipping products.  All of our products are manufactured in Carbondale, Illinois USA.