February 29, 2016

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 Zika Virus 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) relating to packaging and shipping these viruses.  We have attached several documents on our new zika virus shipping containers as well as the guidance information from the CDC.

Specifically, Zika or suspected Zika Virus specimens must be shipped as “Biological Substance, Category B,” and is assigned UN 3373.  Shipment of Category B substances must be packaged in accordance with Department of Transportation Hazardous Materials Regulations 49 CFR, Parts171-180.  Further, the CDC has specified that specimens should be shipped either frozen (-70ºC) on dry ice or refrigerated (4ºC) on blue gel packs.

The packaging requirements for Category B substances 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 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 Instruction 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.

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:

  • If you are shipping Zika Virus specimens on dry ice, you must additionally affix the dry ice label to the outside of 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. A must for any zika virus shipping container.

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 Zika Virus shipping containers 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.