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Shipping: Infectious Substance Description

Read the Shipping Department's description of infectious substance.

Warning: Failure to comply with international and federal transportation regulations when shipping hazardous materials can result in civil penalties of $50,000 per occurrence, and criminal penalties may include 5 years of imprisonment in addition (49CFR 107.329-107.333). If you are shipping an infectious substance, please read the following description.


UCSD conforms to strict government regulations when transporting hazardous materials.Shipments must arrive at their destination in good condition and present no hazard during shipment. An infectious substance is considered a hazardous material. Prior to shipping any hazardous material, contact the Shipping Coordinator through BFSupport.


The U.S. Department of Transportation and the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) define an infectious substance as a viable micro-organism, or its toxin, that causes or may cause disease in humans or animals.

The following are examples of infectious substances:

  • All cultures containing or suspected of containing an agent which may cause infection
  • Human or animal samples that contain such an agent in quantities sufficient to cause infection, should an exposure to them occur
  • Sample(s) from a patient with a serious disease of unknown cause
  • Other specimens not included above and designated as infectious by a qualified person, e.g. a physician, scientist, nurse, etc.

If you are unsure if your shipment is considered an infectious substance, the UCSD Shipping Coordinator will research your item and advise you. Contact the Shipping Coordinator  through BFSupport (login required) with your inquiry.

Further information

To read the regulations concerning the transport of an infectious substance, see: