The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


Routine Bacteriology Samples

Specimen types you should send:

Throat Swabs for bacterial culture : (COPAN e-Swab)

  • For throat swabs samples taken from the inflamed areas of the pharynx are most likely to grow the causative organism of acute tonsillopharyngitis.

General swabs (i.e. surface wound swabs, skin swabs, ulcer swabs) for bacterial culture: (COPAN e-Swab)

  • For a representative sample of a wound it is important that not only pus is sent but more importantly material from the advancing margin of the lesion. For abscesses the walls of the abscess should be firmly sampled.
  • Open lesions and open abscess (including burns wounds). Decontaminate the skin, sample the exudate from the base or margin of the lesion by firmly applying the swab to it.
  • Pustules and Vesicles Friction blisters of severe cellulitis are not appropriate for culture.
  • Vesicular lesions of suspected Chickenpox or Zoster should be sent for virological examination
  • Transport the sample to the laboratory as quickly as possible, refrigerate if not being sent immediately i.e within 1hr.
  • Samples requiring culture for Neisseria gonorrhea must be received by the laboratory within 24 hours or the result may not be valid.
  • Stability and storage requirements of samples can be found in the user manual