Recently, the UK’s Foreign Office issued an urgent health warning in response to  three confirmed cases of invasive meningococcal disease detected in June 2024, after three British travellers returned from the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Globally, a total of 14 reported cases were confirmed, three from the UK, five in the US, four in France and one case in Norway and Netherlands respectively.

Meningococcal disease is caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis which can trigger an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, otherwise known as meningitis. Once infected, the disease can progress rapidly, with between an 8-15% fatality rate.

The symptoms of meningococcal disease include fever, headache and a stiff neck, with some patients experiencing nausea, vomiting and light sensitivity in their eyes.

In this short article, we cover how meningococcal samples should be shipped to and from healthcare facilities.

How are samples taken?

The NHS recommends that either a blood sample or a cerebrospinal fluid sample must be taken less than 48 hours after the onset of the disease.

What category do meningococcal samples fall into?

The UK Government dictates that meningococcal samples must be transported using Category B UN3373 compliant packaging.

The United Nations has classified infectious substances into the following categories:

Category A is described as an infectious substance that, if exposed to it, is life threatening or capable of causing permanent disability in otherwise healthy humans or animals. It is further sub-divided into two sub-categories: UN2814 (affecting humans) and UN2900 (affecting animals only).

Category B substances, known as UN3373 covers substances which are not appropriate for inclusion in Category A.

If you’d like to understand more about Category A and B packaging compliance, we have created a helpful guide here.

What compliance do I need to adhere to?


UN3373 compliance is overseen by the bodies responsible for the transportation of dangerous goods via road and air: The European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) and The International Air Transport Association (IATA). These bodies have separate, relevant guidelines to transport UN3373 infectious specifically relating to the quality of the packaging used and the labels applied to that packaging. These guidelines are known as P650.

Intelsius UN3373 Solutions


The PathoShield range is a Category B compliant solution designed to transport a wide range of primaries including blood vials, swabs and sample containers. Each system is pre-printed with the required markings and includes the relevant components to ship meningococcal samples in compliance with transport regulations set forth by IATA and ADR.  The range is available in multiple sizes and is able to accommodate between 3 to 6 tubes per box. They are also available as outer packaging only.

You can view the full schematics of the PathoShield system here.

Selection of UN3373 PathoShield boxes


The PathoPak range is UN certified for Category A shipments, meeting IATA, ADR, and CFR 49 (DOT) transport regulations, and suitable to ship blood tubes, specimen containers, swabs, blood collection/transfusion bags and medical devices. The range is designed to be durable and cost-effective solution that guarantees the protection of your samples throughout shipment.  This reusable system is also ergonomically designed with equal circumference throughout to ensure easy packaging and removal of samples.

Intelsius PathoPak solutions are available in 800mL, 1L, 2L and 3L sizes, all of which are compliant with UN3373 transport regulations. The full schematics of the PathoPak solution is available here.

Get in Touch

To find out more about our compliant sample transport solutions, contact and our customer service department will gladly assist you with your queries. To view our full range of sample transport packaging solutions, click here.

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