The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


High Risk Specimens

Microbiology are required to handle a number of potentially high risk organisms which may be a risk to staff. To help the laboratory minimise the risk from these samples, users should include all relevant clinical detail along with Danger of Infection stickers on request forms. This enables the laboratory to recognise samples that potentially may grow Hazard Group 3 Pathogens and therefore should be handled using category 3 precautions.

The table below shows clinical details that may suggest potential infection by Hazard Group 3 Pathogens

Clinical Detail

High Risk Occupations

High Risk Sports/Pastimes

IV drug abuser


Hospital or Laboratory staff (exposure incident)

Outdoor Water Sports

Return travel/visitor from abroad where HG3 pathogens are endemic


Veterinary / Animal worker

Caving / pot-holing

Consumption of unpasteurised products (milk/diary)


Farming, visit to farm

Camping & Hunting in endemic areas

Psoas abscess / cold abscess


Slaughter house/abbatoir worker

Animal Hide Drum playing/making

Enteric fever


Horse caretakers


HUS - (haemolytic uremic syndrome)


Equine Butchers


Consumption of raw or undercooked meat products

Industrial processing of wool, hide or hair




Meat Packing Plant Employees



It is the responsibility of the requesting clinician to indicate or highlight that a specimen may contain a HG3 pathogen(s). As per Trust policy this should be clearly stated on the request form and a yellow high risk specimen label attached to the form and specimen. They MUST supply all relevant clinical details as is reasonable and practical at the time of initial clinical assessment.

Where there is a failure to follow this procedure a Datix incident report will be raised for investigation by the requestors CSU.

Guidance on organisms that should be notified can be found on Leeds Health Pathways website.