Refer to the Diagnostic Tests section for detailed descriptions of the appropriate collection and handling of specific specimens for Microbiological testing.
Notify the Microbiology Laboratory by phone if you suspect Brucella spp., Coccidioides immitis, Bacillus anthracis, Francisella tularensis or Streptobacillus moniloformis. They all require special processing and media to recover the organism and they each represent a serious laboratory and transport risk if not handled properly.
Please consult the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory with questions or for further information concerning any testing performed by the Microbiology Laboratory.
- Proper handling and collection of specimens is critical for obtaining microbiology test results that are clinically relevant.
- Specimens must be collected using aseptic technique, using sterile leak proof collection transport containers/devices and be from anatomical sites most likely to yield pathogenic organisms.
- Specimens received in leaking, cracked or broken containers are not acceptable for processing as the integrity of the specimen is compromised.
- All specimens submitted must fulfill specimen labeling requirements as defined in Hospital Policy # PE-4-02 - Specimen Labeling(PDF) found in the Patient Care Manual.
- Volume is crucial for blood, sterile fluid and tissue cultures; in general, larger volumes from these specimen sites yield better and faster recovery of organisms.
- It is strongly recommended to submit tissue, fluid, bone or aspirate whenever possible as these specimens are far superior to material sent on swabs.
- When swabs are submitted for testing, each test requested requires a separate swab.
- Cultures requested to rule out certain organisms will only be processed for those organisms. (e.g. Group A Strep, N.gonorrhoeae)
- In general, specimens for Microbiology should be transported in sterile specimen containers or, in the case of some types of fluid or aspirates, in the syringe in which the specimen was collected, with the needle removed.
- All specimens should be transported to the Microbiology Laboratory as soon as possible after collection, especially those not placed in any type of transport media/preservative.