Bacillus anthracis – Confirmation

Consistent with O. Reg. 671/92 of the French Language Services Act, laboratory testing information on this page is only available in English because it is scientific or technical in nature and is for use only by qualified health care providers and not by members of the public.

Testing Indications

Submitting laboratories must contact Public Health Ontario laboratory Customer Service Centre by telephone prior to submission of the isolate.

Specimen Collection and Handling

Specimen Requirements

Test Requested Required Requisition(s) Specimen Type Minimum Volume Collection Kit

Bacillus anthracis – confirmation

Pure viable subculture of organism on Columbia sheep blood agar plate


Columbia sheep blood agar plate

Submission and Collection Notes


Complete all fields of the Reference Bacteriology Requisition, including:

  • test(s) requested (under other: rule out Bacillus anthracis)
  • culture information (motility and haemolysis result)
  • clinical/epidemiology
  • contact information

Specimens received on either dry or gel-based swabs will not be accepted and will be cancelled.


Culture must be viable. Use a fresh subculture and ship in conditions to ensure viability on receipt.

Storage and Transport

Label the specimen with the patient’s full name, date of collection and one other unique identifier such as the patient’s date of birth or Health Card Number. Failure to provide this information may result in rejection or testing delay.

Special Instructions

Bacillus anthracis must be handled in accordance with the Canadian Biosafety Standards and shipped in accordance with the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations.

Requisitions and Kit Ordering

Test Frequency and Turnaround Time (TAT)

Testing is performed daily (Monday to Friday) as received. Turnaround time for test results is up to 3 days from receipt by PHO laboratory.

Isolates that are positive for Bacillus anthracis by the Canadian Laboratory Response Network (CLRN) PCR assay are forwarded to the National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) for confirmatory testing. Turnaround time for test results is up to 3 days from receipt by NML.

STAT and Critical Samples Testing

Urgent testing is available upon request by calling the Customer Service Centre 416-235-6556 or 1-877-604-4567.

Test Methods

Bacillus anthracis is confirmed using  Canadian Laboratory Response Network (CLRN)Real Time-PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) method.


Any isolate that is positive by the CLRN real-time PCR assay is considered as presumptively positive for Bacillus anthracis and is forwarded to the National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) for confirmatory testing.


Results are reported to the ordering physician or health care provider as indicated on the requisition.

Specimens that are positive for Bacillus anthracis are to be reported to the Medical Officer of Health as per the Health Protection and Promotion Act.


LAB-SD-125, Reference Bacteriology and Antimicrobial Susceptibility: New Requisition and Testing Algorithm for Improved Test Utilization

contact lab

Contact Laboratory Customer Service

Laboratory Services

Updated 26 Oct 2022