• Serum
  • Feces
  • Vomitus
  • Gastric contents
  • Wounds
  • Debrided tissue
  • Suspected foods can also be tested for botulinum toxin.

These specimens present an exposure risk to the laboratorian.

Submit Isolates


Physicians who suspect they have an adult patient with botulism should notify public authorities immediately!

Contact the South Dakota Health Laboratory to make arrangements to send to a botulism reference laboratory.

Daytime phone: 605-773-3368

After hours: 1-800-592-1861


All specimens, except those from wounds, should be placed in sterile containers and shipped refrigerated, not frozen. A wound specimen should be placed in an anaerobic transport system and sent to the laboratory without refrigeration.

Instructions for Shipping


Biosafety Level 3 criteria need to be followed when working with this toxin.

Botulinum toxins are extremely poisonous for humans. Minute quantities acquired by ingestion, inhalation, or by absorption through the eye or a break in the skin can cause profound intoxication and death.

Always use appropriate personal protective equipment including masks, laboratory coats, gloves and eye or face shields when collecting and handling specimens.