Protection measures against SARS-CoV-2 infection for cytopathology and histopathology laboratories personnel: practical recommendations

Vol. 61 No. 4, 2020


Anca Sava, Claudia Florida Costea, Serban Turliuc, Lucian Eva, Mihaela Dana Turliuc, Gabriela Florenta Dumitrescu, Gabriela Dimitriu, Valeriana Vornicu, Liliana Baltag, Marius Gabriel Dabija

In the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic, healthcare workers are at high risk to be infected with this new coronavirus, particularly when they handle not only patients, but also their body fluids. In Romania, even though the protective measures to be used by medical staff in emergency departments, clinical departments, radiology departments, clinical laboratories and morgues services are well known, there is little information about the protection of medical staff in the laboratories of cytopathology and histopathology. In this article, we will discuss the transmission routes of the new coronavirus, the surfaces it could contaminate in a hospital, as well as the modalities of its inactivation. We will present some guidelines for preparing the pathology departments to face the pandemic situation like the present one. Also, we will point out some possible recommendations/suggestions for protective measures to be taken by laboratory staff during the cytological and histopathological procedures when they manipulate body fluids or surgical samples of patients with suspected or confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Laboratory personnel should be aware that any body fluid or surgical specimen that arrives in the laboratory may contain SARS-CoV-2 and, as such, they should act after new working procedures. We recommend restraint from performing extemporaneous examination (smear and frozen section) and cytopathological examination in laboratories that do not have adequate condition for handling and processing Hazard Group 3 (HG3) pathogens, as SARS-CoV-2. Also, laboratory personnel should pay attention to instruments, technical equipment, or environmental surfaces as these also can be contaminated with the new coronavirus.

Corresponding author: Claudia Florida Costea, Associate Professor, MD, PhD; e-mail:; Serban Turliuc, Associate Professor, MD, PhD; e-mail:

DOI: 10.47162/RJME.61.4.09 Download PDF
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