Shipment of Biological Materials


Federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) division of the Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) and commercial package delivery companies have increased scrutiny of packages offered for shipment from university departments.

Anyone who offers packages for shipment from the university must be aware of the requirements for proper labeling and marking and receive proper certification.

Even if you do not ship dangerous goods/hazardous materials, you can be held accountable and fined for improperly prepared packages. If an error is made, departments may be fined thousands of dollars by TSA.

This could be an issue for those who reuse dangerous goods/hazardous materials shipping containers. If your package does not contain dangerous goods/hazardous materials, the package must not have any labels or markings that pertain to dangerous goods/hazardous materials such as those shown below:

Infectious Substance Sign
* Infectious Substance - In Case of Damage or Leakage Immediately Notify Public Health Authority *

Non Flammable Gas Sign

* Non-Flammable Gas *

Radioactive Sign

* Radioactive 3, along with spots to fill out for Content and Activity *

Striped Hazardous Material Sign

* The number 9 with an underscore below it *


University departments ship a variety of dangerous goods/hazardous materials including infectious substances, dry ice, biologicals, and sometimes chemicals. These shipments fall under a variety of regulations depending upon the material, the mode of transportation, the commercial carrier, and the destination.

By regulation, all persons who ship or handle shipments of biologic material, infectious substances, dry ice or chemicals that are dangerous goods/hazardous materials must be certified for this activity.

The University of Maryland Baltimore, Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) offers an online Biological Material Shipping Certification that will satisfy the training requirement.

Please contact EHS biosafety staff at (410) 706-7055 for more information.


Click here for a reference list of Category A Infectious Substances 

UN Number and Proper Shipping NameMicro-organism

UN 2814

Infectious substance affecting humans 

  • Bacillus anthracis (cultures only)
  • Brucella abortus (cultures only)
  • Brucella melitensis (cultures only)
  • Brucella suis (cultures only)  
  • Burkholderia malleiPseudomonas mallei–Glanders (cultures only)
  • Burkholderia pseudomalleiPseudomonas pseudomallei (cultures only)
  • Chlamydia psittaci–avian strains (cultures only)
  • Clostridium botulinum (cultures only)
  • Coccidioides immitis (cultures only)
  • Coxiella burnetii (cultures only)
  • Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus
  • Dengue virus (cultures only)
  • Eastern equine encephalitis virus (cultures only) 
  • Escherichia coli, verotoxigenic (cultures only)
  • Ebola virus
  • Flexal virus
  • Francisella tularensis (cultures only)
  • Guanarito virus
  • Hantaan virus
  • Hantavirus causing hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome
  • Hendra virus
  • Hepatitis B virus (cultures only)
  • Herpes B virus (cultures only)
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (cultures only)
  • Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (cultures only)
  • Japanese Encephalitis virus (cultures only)
  • Junin virus
  • Kyasanur Forest disease virus
  • Lassa virus
  • Machupo virus
  • Marburg virus
  • Monkeypox virus
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis (cultures only)
  • Nipah virus
  • Omsk haemorrhagic fever virus
  • Poliovirus (cultures only)
  • Rabies virus (cultures only)
  • Rickettsia prowazekii (cultures only)
  • Rickettsia rickettsii (cultures only)
  • Rift Valley fever virus (cultures only)
  • Russian spring-summer encephalitis virus (cultures only)
  • Sabia virus
  • Shigella dysenteriae type 1 (cultures only)
  • Tick-borne encephalitis virus (cultures only)
  • Variola virus
  • Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (cultures only)
  • West Nile virus (cultures only)
  • Yellow fever virus (cultures only)
  • Yersinia pestis (cultures only)

UN 2900

Infectious substances affecting animals 

  • African swine fever virus (cultures only)
  • Avian paramyxovirus Type 1–Velogenic Newcastle disease virus (cultures only)
  • Classical swine fever virus (cultures only)
  • Foot and mouth disease virus (cultures only)
  • Goatpox virus (cultures only)
  • Lumpy skin disease virus (cultures only)
  • Mycoplasma mycoides–Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (cultures only)
  • Peste des petits ruminants virus (cultures only)
  • Rinderpest virus (cultures only)
  • Sheep-pox virus (cultures only)
  • Swine vesicular disease virus (cultures only)
  • Vesicular stomatitis virus (cultures only)

Any infectious substance which does not meet the criteria for inclusion in Category A is considered Category B, UN 3373.