Microbiology Collection and Transport Guidelines

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Microbiology specimens

  • Please see general transport guidelines
  • Where possible, collect specimen prior to the administration of antimicrobial therapy.
  • Collect specimen with as little contamination from indigenous microbial flora as possible to ensure that the sample will be representative of the infective site.
  • Collect specimen using sterile equipment and aseptic technique to avoid introduction of foreign micro-organisms.
  • Collect an adequate amount of specimen. Inadequate amounts may yield false negative results.
  • Identify the specimen source and /or specific site correctly so that proper culture media will be selected during processing in the laboratory. Special requests such as Diptheria, actinomyces, nocardia etc. should be noted on the microbiology request form.
  • Specimens should be transported as soon as possible. If processing is delayed, refrigeration is preferable to storage at ambient temperature, with the exception of Blood cultures and Cerebro-spinal fluid which should be held at room temperature.
  • Contact the laboratory if the proper procedure is in doubt.