The HPAI Risk Reduction Order: June 26, 2024, Amendment issued by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) requires HPAI (H5N1) testing prior to arrival at fairs and expositions for any cattle originating from a licensed dairy farm premises or from a premises connected to or affiliated with a licensed dairy premises. Lactating dairy cattle are prohibited from fairs and exhibitions. Please see MDARD’s Frequently Asked Questions for more details.

Testing must be completed within seven (7) days of the animals arriving at the fair. The Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (MSU VDL) is the only laboratory in Michigan authorized by the USDA to test for HPAI in any animal species.

Testing is performed at the MSU VDL Monday through Friday with a turnaround time of not more than three (3) business days. Plan accordingly; STAT testing is not available.

Please contact the MSU VDL at 517-353-1683 with any questions about sample collection, handling, or submission.

Testing costs are covered by USDA. Any veterinary and/or shipping fees for test collection and submission are the responsibility of the submitter and may be eligible for reimbursement. Please see USDA Support Options for Dairy Herd Producers for details.

Please see the information below for details on sample collection and submission.

Sample Collection

​Acceptable Samples:

Individual nasal swabs

  • The MSU VDL encourages animal owners to work with their veterinarian for collection of nasal swabs. Veterinarians have the necessary supplies, are familiar with shipping samples to the Laboratory and are set up for real-time receipt of results.

Bulk tank milk (BTM) from animal location OR affiliated dairy premises

  • MDARD is coordinating sample collection and submission of BTM samples.
  • Please call 800-292-3939 or your dairy inspector to discuss this option and arrange testing.

While lactating animals are prohibited from fairs and exhibitions, bulk tank milk is a proxy for herd status.

If testing bulk tank milk is not possible or desired, deep nasal swabs are the best sample type for non-lactating cows.

Nasal Swab Requirements:

Samples containing additives and/or inappropriate media are not suitable for testing. DO NOT submit swabs in any semi-solid medium such as Amies Agar. DO NOT use tubes containing (or that have contained) EDTA, serum separator gel, or other additives. Samples submitted in semi-solid media or contaminated with additives cannot be used for testing.

  • Use a single sterile swab with at least a six-inch handle to sample both nostrils.
  • Be sure to brush the sides of the nasal passage firmly with the swab.
  • After both nasal passages have been sampled, place the swab in a sterile tube containing PrimeStore MTM, BHI, or sterile saline.
  • Vigorously swirl the swab in the media and press the swab against the sides of the tube to express fluid.
  • Remove the swab. Do not retain the swab in the media.
  • PrimeStore MTM can be submitted without ice packs; BHI or saline samples must be kept cool with ice packs.
  • Do not submit dry swabs.
  • Nasal swabs from multiple cows CANNOT be pooled in one tube.

Bulk Tank Milk Requirements:

  • Collect milk into sterile, screw top, leakproof tube or container.
  • Ensure the screw top of tube or container is secure.

Sample Submission

Complete the MSU VDL HPAI Bovine Submission Form. Premises ID is REQUIRED on the submission form. If Prem ID is not included on the submittal form, we cannot begin processing samples until we receive the ID. Please see MDARD’s Frequently Asked Questions for information on how to get a Prem ID if needed.

Nasal swabs in BHI or sterile saline must be refrigerated and dropped off at the Laboratory OR shipped overnight in an insulated container with an ice pack.

Nasal swabs in MTM may be submitted in a non-insulated container and do not need an ice pack. They should be shipped overnight or dropped off at the Laboratory.

Bulk tank milk must be refrigerated and dropped off at the Laboratory OR shipped overnight in an insulated container with an ice pack.

For all sample types:

  • Label each tube with animal RFID tag # or unique animal ID.
  • Package sample(s) in a biohazard or zip-top bag.
  • Place bagged sample(s) inside a second biohazard or zip-top bag along with absorbent material (such as paper towel).

Delivering samples to the Laboratory:

Follow the instructions for sample drop-off.

Shipping samples to the Laboratory:

  • Make a copy of the submittal form. Place the original submittal form in a separate zip-top bag.
  • Place double-bagged samples and bagged submittal form inside an insulated shipping container with ice packs (nasal swabs in BHI or sterile saline, bulk tank milk) or non-insulated mailer (nasal swabs in MTM).
  • Seal the shipping container and include a copy of the submittal form in an envelope taped to the outside of the container.
  • Mark each side of the outside of the package with a large “M” and circle it, preferably with a brightly colored marker if you have one. This is to help our receiving staff locate and prioritize your samples. Make the M as big and noticeable as possible! If you have fluorescent tape or labels, you can add those to the outside of the container as well.
  • Ship overnight*: MSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, 4125 Beaumont Road Lansing, MI 48910-8104
  • Pre-paid UPS and FedEx shipping labels are available for VDL clients. Call the Laboratory at 517-353-1683 to order and the label will be emailed to you.
  • Email CVM.VDL_HPAI@cvm.msu.edu before 7:30 a.m. the day samples are scheduled to arrive. In the subject line, indicate Shipment of H5N1 Samples for Cattle Exhibition. In the body of the email, please provide the tracking number, carrier (UPS or FedEx), and the number of samples in the shipment.

*Please note that UPS and FedEx deliver overnight Monday through Friday. Samples shipped on a Friday will be delivered on Monday unless you pay for Saturday delivery. Testing is performed Monday through Friday. Samples received on Saturday will be opened and appropriately stored for testing the following week.

Please contact the MSU VDL at 517-353-1683 with any questions about sample collection, handling, or submission.


Page last updated: July 15, 2024

Page published: July 3, 2024