12.3A: Specimen Collection - Biology

12.3A: Specimen Collection - Biology

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Laboratory diagnosis of diseases begins with the collection of a clinical specimen for examination or processing in the laboratory.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe how laboratory diagnosis of disease begins with the collection of a clinical specimen for examination and processing

Key Points

  • Specimen collection requires withdrawing blood, cerebrospinal fluid, collecting urine, or swabs from mucosal surfaces.
  • Specimen collection is performed using aseptic techniques to ensure sterility of the sample and avoid contamination from bacteria or other bodily fluids.
  • The types of biological samples accepted in most clinical laboratories are: serum samples, virology swab samples, biopsy and necropsy tissue, cerebrospinal fluid, whole blood for PCR, and urine samples. These are collected in specific containers for successful processing in the laboratory.

Key Terms

  • PCR: polymerase chain reaction
  • necropsy: The pathological dissection of a corpse; particularly to determine cause of death. Applicable to the examination of any life form.
  • biopsy: The removal and examination of a sample of tissue from a living body for diagnostic purposes.

Laboratory diagnosis of an infectious disease begins with the collection of a clinical specimen for examination or processing in the laboratory.

The laboratory, with the help of well-chosen techniques and methods for rapid isolation and identification, confirms the diagnosis.

It has been observed that the most important and frequent factor affecting laboratory analysis, even in a well-functioning laboratory, is not the laboratory investigation itself but specimen preparation and errors in identification or labeling. Proper collection of an appropriate clinical specimen is, hence, the first step in obtaining an accurate laboratory diagnosis of an infectious disease.

Applying one’s knowledge of microbiology and immunology for the collection, transportation and storage of specimens is as important as it is in the laboratory. For starters, the interpretation of the observation may be misleading if the specimen is inadequate.

There are several types of specimens recommended for diagnosis of immunological diseases including: serum samples, virology swab samples, biopsy and necropsy tissue, cerebrospinal fluid, whole blood for PCR, and urine samples.

Serum is the preferred specimen source for serologic testing. Blood specimens are obtained aseptically using approved venipuncture techniques by qualified personnel. Specimens are allowed to clot at room temperature and then are centrifuged. Serum is transferred to tightly-closing plastic tubes and stored at 2 – 8°C before shipment–which should always be prompt. Acute serum should be collected at the onset of symptoms. Convalescent specimens should follow two to four weeks later. Paired sera are tested together.

Plasma is also collected for a very limited number of tests. Lipemic, hemolyzed, or contaminated sera may cause erroneous results and should be avoided as should repeated freeze-thaw cycles.

Another type of specimen used for disease diagnosis is cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). This should be transported in tightly-closing plastic tubes. Refrigerated CSF is acceptable for a limited number of serologic tests; however, if PCR is to be performed for the viral panels, the specimen must be frozen and shipped on dry ice. CSF specimens should be clear of any visible contamination or blood. A lumbar puncture (or LP, and colloquially known as a spinal tap) is performed to collecte CSF. This consists of the insertion of a hollow needle beneath the arachnoid membrane of the spinal cord in the lumbar region to withdraw cerebrospinal fluid for diagnostic purposes or to administer medication.


The Ornithology Collection at the Burke Museum maintains a comprehensive collection of approximately 157,250 bird specimens from around the world. Specimen types include study skins, spread wings, bird skeletons, egg sets, nests and frozen tissue samples.

The collection is relatively modern, with more than 90% of the total specimens added in the past 30 years, and is used for a variety of purposes, including research, education and art.

Ornithology staff and collections play an important role in undergraduate and graduate education at the University of Washington.

Visitors explore the Ornithology Collection during the Burke's annual Members' Behind-the-Scenes Night.

The egg and nest collection holds roughly 6,000 egg sets.

Birds are prepared for the collection in the Biology Animal Prep Lab at the Burke Museum.

Visitors explore the Ornithology Collection during the Burke's annual Members' Behind-the-Scenes Night.

Researchers use our wing collection to study life-history tradeoffs between molt and breeding, and to study the functional morphology of wing shape variation.

Visitors enjoy the Ornithology Collection at the Members' Behind-the-Scenes Night.

Search the Collection

Approximately 100,000 individual records from the collections are accessible through the collections database. Note that most records refer to multiple specimen types from the same individual.

1. Definitions

Voucher specimen - a preserved specimen that serves as a verifiable and permanent record of wildlife as it preserves as much of the physical remains of an organism as possible. A voucher specimen should be in an accessible collection however, even if it is not, it remains a voucher. Voucher specimens typically refer to taxidermied study skins, cleaned skeletal material including skulls, or spirit specimens, but may also include frozen samples such as tissue or blood. Spirit specimens include whole or partial animals fixed in a preservative (e.g. formalin or ethanol). Voucher specimens are extremely important as they preserve the characters by which species can be distinguished and serve as a basis of future study.

Specimen - a whole animal or a part thereof.

Type specimen - a voucher specimen that serves as a basis for taxonomic description of a new taxon (e.g. a new species). This specimen serves as the reference point for the described specimen in future taxonomic studies.

12.3A: Specimen Collection - Biology

Each year nearly 40,000,000 kilograms (88.1 million pounds) of meteoritic material rains down on the Earth from outer space. Less than 1% of these falls holds traces of organic compounds, and within this tiny subset scientists sometimes come across even rarer material: amino acids. [more]

Here in this humble eggshell, we have a single moment captured for all eternity… the birth of an individual dinosaur. The texture, when viewed under magnification, resembles rocky hills with a network of valleys running in between. These numerous rifts serve as channels for oxygen, sustaining the fragile creature within. [more]

The Manhattan Project was the codename for the research and development effort which allowed the United States to rapidly develop a series of atomic breakthroughs during World War II, including the first industrial-scale plutonium production reactor and the first atomic bombs. [more]

As we’ve followed the progression of life across billions of years of history, we’ve come across many examples of the importance of migration and its central role in the diversity of life on Earth. From the Woolly Mammoth’s vast metropolitan population spread across the steppe, to the rise and fall of thousands of species of tiny foraminifera in the ocean, each of these stories plays out on a grand scale that often encompasses hundreds of thousands of years. On this scale, small changes to these patterns of movement can have dramatic effects resulting in the emergence of new species and the extinction of the old. [more]

The Mini Museum is a handcrafted, limited edition collectible, designed to inspire learning and exploration. Every specimen in the Mini Museum is authentic, iconic, and labeled. The carefully selected specimens in each Edition will only be offered once.

Laboratory of Pathology

The Molecular Diagnostics Unit offers PCR-based molecular testing designed to assist in the diagnosis of both solid tumors and lymphoproliferative disorders.

1) Submission of IN-HOUSE Samples

Note: Specimens delivered to Room 3S247 in Building 10 will be accepted from 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

When submitting patient samples to the Molecular Diagnostics Unit, the requesting physician or nurse must enter a CRIS order prior to submission of the sample. The CRIS order is listed under the heading of Anatomic Pathology, sub-heading, Molecular Pathology. The information submitted in the order must include the type of specimen and the requested tests .

  1. 3 ml of whole blood is collected in light-blue citrate tube (one tube only).
  2. The tubes are wrapped in plastic bags (at room temperature), and sent immediately to the Molecular Diagnostics Unit.

Bone Marrow Aspirates, CSF, and Other Tissues

Bone Marrow Aspirates:

  1. Draw 2 ml in plain syringe with no anticoagulant. DO NOT USE HEPARINIZED SYRINGE.
  2. IMMEDIATELY place sample into the EDTA tube (lavender top) and mix gently to prevent clotting.
  1. 2 cc or more. Samples are placed in a sterile, capped plastic tube, wrapped in a plastic bag and then placed in a second bag or cup with wet ice. At no time should the ice and the tube have direct contact.
  2. If fresh CSF is not available, cytospins of the CSF that are air-dried and Diff-Quick-stained may be submitted in lieu of fresh samples.
2) Submission of Samples from OUTSIDE of the NIH

Note : Notification of submission of samples from outside the NIH must to be made as a consultation to the Laboratory of Pathology. The Molecular Diagnostics Unit is not a reference laboratory.

  1. 3 ml of whole blood is collected in light-blue citrate tube (one tube only).
  2. The tubes are wrapped in plastic bags and "bubble wrap" to prevent breakage.
  3. The wrapped tubes are then placed into a Styrofoam box with "cold packs" (i.e., "picnic-type" frozen ice packs) and transported overnight by courier to the address given below.
Bone Marrow Aspirates:

Draw 2 ml in plain syringe with no anticoagulant. DO NOT USE HEPARINIZED SYRINGE.

IMMEDIATELY place sample into the EDTA tube (lavender top) and mix gently to prevent clotting.

The sample is wrapped in a plastic bag and "bubble wrap," placed into a Styrofoam box with "cold packs" for shipping by overnight delivery by courier to the address given below. Do not freeze.

3) Submitted FFPE Tissues

All FFPE biopsy tissues performed for molecular diagnostic testing should be submitted routinely through Surgical Pathology. The Surgical Pathology staff is responsible for triaging the case for all specialized testing, including molecular diagnostic assays. It is essential that separate CRIS orders for both surgical pathology examination, and molecular diagnostic testing are submitted, and the required tests are listed on both CRIS forms. If the patient does not have an active MRN, then it is essential that a tissue examination sheet be completed in the Surgical Pathology Main Office (Building 10/2S262), and all required assays are listed on this form.

Blood and bone marrow samples should be sent directly to:

Molecular Diagnostics Unit
Laboratory of Pathology, CCR
National Cancer Institute
9000 Rockville Pike
Building 10, Room 3S249
Bethesda, MD 20892

Note: All other tissues samples should be brought to the Surgical Pathology Main Office (Building 10/2S262).

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Antibody test results are good diagnostic tools to determine if you have been infected or exposed to the virus, and whether immunity is present.

Effective 9/29/2020, CMB Laboratory will be performing Covid-19 Total Antibody test utilizing Roche Elecsys Electro-chemiluminescence Immunoassay methodology. The Roche's Total antibody test is highly accurate at detecting Covid-19 antibodies and has a 99.8% accuracy at ruling out SARS-Cov-2 antibodies in the blood. Antibodies test should not be used to rule out current or recent infections.

** Note: Antibody test results should not be used as the sole basis to diagnose active SARS-CoV-2 infection. It typically takes 1 to 3 weeks after someone becomes infected with SARS-CoV-2 for their body to make antibodies. Depending on when you were infected and the timing of the tests, the tests may not find antibodies in someone with an active infection.

Covid-19 Antibody test by ECLIA: available to draw at CMB Patient Service Centers.

Covid-19 PCR test collection is available through your physician or at a collection site.

Please Note: CMB will not collect specimens for this PCR test at our patient service centers. An appropriate specimen should be collected at a health care facility. We will only accept Nasopharyngeal (NP) or Oropharyngeal (OP) swabs at this time.

Caution: COVID-19 specimen must be tightly sealed in an individual specimen bag. Paperwork and any other specimens must be separated from the COVID-19 specimen.

We cannot accept the specimen if there is leakage or is not sealed tightly due to the infectious nature of the specimen.


12.3A: Specimen Collection - Biology

Deliver all specimens as soon as possible to the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory 6004 BT. Collection devices are available from Hospital Stores.

  1. Use universal precautions for collecting and handling all specimens.

  2. Whenever possible, collect all culture specimens prior to administration of any antimicrobial agents.

  3. Avoid contamination with indigenous flora.

  4. Swabs are convenient but inferior to tissue and fluid. Tissue and fluid are essential for fungal and mycobacterial culture.

  5. All specimens must be appropriately labeled with two patient identifiers. Identifiers used at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UI Hospitals and Clinics) include patient name, birthdate and/or hospital number. The requisition will include the patient name, hospital number, hospital service, date and time of collection, specimen type and tests requested. A requisition needs to accompany each different specimen type.

  6. Deliver all specimens to the laboratory as soon as possible after collection. Specimens for bacterial culture should be transported at room temperature. If transport is delayed the following specimens should be refrigerated: urines (within 30 min), stool (within 1 h), respiratory specimens. Specimens for viral culture must be transported to the laboratory immediately on ice. See specific specimen and culture type for detailed collection and transport guidelines.

  7. Specimens may be hand delivered to the laboratory or transported via the runners from Technical Services if the specimens are not indicated as deliver immediately. Specimens may be transported through the pneumatic tube system if approved by Pneumatic Tube Administration. This includes blood culture bottles (if placed in plastic carrier), Vacutainer ® tubes and swabs.

  8. Specimens should be in tightly sealed, leak proof containers and transported in sealable, leak-proof plastic bags. Specimens for TB should be double bagged. Specimens should not be externally contaminated. Specimens grossly contaminated or compromised may be rejected.

  9. If anaerobic culture is requested, make certain to use proper anaerobic collection containers (fluid: 59546, tissue: 59547, or ESwab, 74541).

  10. Further questions may be referred to the Microbiology laboratory (356-2591) or pathology resident (pager 4903 weekdays pager 3404 evenings and weekends).

  1. Abscess – Tissue or aspirates are always superior to swab specimens. Remove surface exudate by wiping with sterile saline or 70% alcohol. Aspirate with needle and syringe. Cleanse rubber stopper of anaerobic transport vial (59546) with alcohol allow to dry 1 min before inoculating push needle through septum and inject all abscess material on top of agar. If a swab must be used, pass the swab deep into the base of the lesion to firmly sample the fresh border. Transport time < 2 hours.

  2. Anaerobic cultures - Aspirates are preferred rather than swabs. Fluid collections should be aspirated through disinfected tissue or skin. For superficial ulcers, collect material from below the surface (after surface debridement or use a needle and syringe). Submit specimens using anaerobic transport media:
      (fluid specimen, 59546): Cleanse rubber stopper with alcohol allow to dry 1 min before inoculation push needle through septum and inject specimen on top of agar
  3. Anaerobic jar (tissue specimen, 59547). Place sample on top of agar. Keep jar upright to maintain atmosphere in jar.
  4. A sterile container (37777) may be used for tissue if transported to the microbiology lab immediately (add drops of sterile saline to keep small pieces of tissue moist). (ESwab) (74541) – swab specimens are suboptimal, but will be accepted if no other sample can be obtained.
  5. Deliver all specimens to the laboratory immediately after collection.
  6. Anaerobic flora is prevalent on mucosal surfaces of the oral cavity, upper respiratory, gastrointestinal, and genital tracts specimens collected from these sites should not ordinarily be cultured for anaerobic bacteria. The following is a list of specimens that are likely to be contaminated with anaerobic normal flora and are NOT routinely accepted for anaerobic culture.
    1. Throat or nasopharyngeal swabs
    2. Gingival or other intraoral surface swabs
    3. Expectorated sputum
    4. Sputum obtained by nasotracheal or endotracheal suction
    5. Bronchial washings
    6. Voided or catheterized urine
    7. Vaginal or cervical swabs
    8. Gastric and small bowel contents (except for "blind loop" or bacterial overgrowth syndrome)
    9. Feces (except for specific etiologic agents such as C. difficile and C. botulinum)
    10. Rectal swabs - Surface swabs from ulcers and wounds (collect material from below the surface)
    11. Material adjacent to a mucous membrane that has not been adequately decontaminated

    1. Adult – Cleanse skin with ChloraPrep® one-step 1.5 mL Frepp® Applicator (907672):
      1. Holding the applicator sponge downward, pinch wings on applicator to break ampule and release the antiseptic.
      2. Use a side-to-side motion to scrub the site with the friction pad for a full 30 sec allow site to dry completely (at least 30 sec) before venipuncture. Do not touch site after prep.
      3. Remove overcaps from bottles (1 aerobic 924171 and 1 anaerobic 924172) and cleanse each rubber septum with separate 70% alcohol swabs. Allow septum to dry for 1 min before inoculating.
      4. Draw 20 mL of blood and inoculate each bottle with 10 mL of blood. Do not vent or overfill bottles. Adding low ( 10 mL) volumes may adversely affect the recovery of organisms. Transport time 99% of BSIs). Three sets of blood cultures collected within a 24 hour period will detect 96.9 - 98.3% of BSIs. A single set of blood cultures to detect BSIs in adults is inadequate (only 73% sensitivity) two sets of blood cultures will allow detection of 87.7-89.7% of BSI episodes. (J Clin Microbiol 2007 45:3546).
      5. If patient is allergic to chlorhexidine, prep site with a povidone iodine swab stick (907172) applied in concentric circles (start at center). Allow to dry at least 1 min before venipuncture. If patient is allergic to iodine, cleanse site with 70% alcohol for 60 sec.
      1. Please use FecalSwabs [Stores #105117]. 1) Obtain a stool specimen in a clean pan or container. Stool specimens should not contain urine or water. 2) Holding FecalSwab shaft above the red breakpoint mark, insert the entire tip of the FecalSwab into the stool sample and rotate. Do not use FecalSwab as a spoon rather, coat swab with a visible layer. 3) If visible stool is not coating the FecalSwab tip, reinsert until swab is coated. 4) Using swab and aiming tube away, mash and mix the stool sample against the side of the tube to suspend the sample. 5) Invert the tube several times to homogenize the sample and expose the sample to Cary Blair preservative fluid.
      2. The FilmArray Gastrointestinal Panel is a multiplex PCR test capable of qualitatively detecting DNA or RNA of 22 pathogens (bacteria, parasites, and viruses). It requires a FecalSwab. The panel is used to diagnose infection caused by Campylobacter species, Plesiomonas shigelloides, Salmonella species, Vibrio species, V. cholerae, Yersinia species, enteroaggregative E. coli, enteropathogenic E. coli, enterotoxigenic E. coli, Shiga toxin producing E. coli, E. coli O157, Shigella/Enteroinvasive E. coli, Cryptosporidium species, Cyclospora cayetanensis, Entamoeba histolytica, Giardia lamblia, Adenovirus F 40/41, Astrovirus, Norovirus, Rotavirus and Sapovirus.
      3. Stools for C. difficile toxin detection must be transported to the laboratory immediately or refrigerated if transport is delayed. This test requires raw stool, not a FecalSwab.
      4. Surveillance cultures may be ordered on Bone Marrow transplant and other immunocompromised patients to detect overgrowth of normal flora by Staph aureus, yeast or a gram negative bacillus.
      5. Test of Cure Stool Culture (Salmonella, Shigella, EHEC) is only for the listed organisms. For organisms other than these please contact the Microbiology laboratory for approval.
      6. Aeromonas Culture – Should be collected in FecalSwabs (Stores #105117). This test may be added onto the FilmArray Enteric Panel.

      Gray top C&S urine containers are only for culture and are not acceptable for urinalysis and urine chemistries because the preservative interferes with testing.

      1. Midstream clean catch method: Patients should be instructed to wash hands prior to collection and offered exam gloves.
        1. Female patients should be instructed to sit on toilet with legs apart and open sterile container without touching the insides of the jar or lid. Spread labia with one hand. First void in toilet and then, continuing to void, hold specimen container in "midstream" to collect sample. Touching only the outside of the lid, put the lid on the cup. Carefully replace the lid. Handle the specimen as sterile.
        2. Male patients should be instructed to wash hands, carefully open the sterile container without touching the inside of the jar or lid, retract foreskin if uncircumcised. First void in toilet and then, continuing to void, hold specimen container in "midstream" to collect sample. Carefully replace the lid. Handle the specimen as sterile.
        1. Deliver all specimens to the laboratory as soon as possible after collection.
          1. Blood: Cleanse skin with ChloraPrep® one-step 1.5 mL Frepp® Applicator (907672). Collect 8-10 mL of blood for adult (1.5 mL for child) and inoculate into an Isolator tube (Adult=922848 Pediatric=923003). Collect in addition to bacterial blood culture bottles. Isolator tubes are for molds, Histoplasma, Blastomyces, and Malassezia spp. for bloodstream infection by Candida spp., inoculate aerobic blood culture bottles instead.
          2. Skin: Using a scalpel blade, scrape the periphery of the lesion border and transport in a sterile container.
          3. See Bacterial Culture for collection and transport of all other specimen types.
          1. Deliver all specimens to the laboratory as soon as possible after collection. Specimens for mycobacteria should be double bagged and sent sealed in leak-proof containers.
            1. Blood: Media and instructions available upon request from the Microbiology Lab. Test available for limited patient populations only.
            2. Sputum: Collect an early morning specimen on three consecutive days. Collect 5-15 mL in a sterile container.
            3. See Bacterial culture for collection and transport of all other specimen types.
            4. Swabs are suboptimal for recovery of mycobacteria due to limited material and the hydrophobicity of the mycobacterial cell envelope (often compromises a transfer from swabs onto media). Dry swabs are unacceptable. The lab only accepts Copan Liquid Amies Elution Swab (ESwab) for AFB culture when the ordering physician confirms that the swab is the only possible way to obtain the specimen.

            Collect specimens for PCR testing early in illness when viral shedding is maximal. Place swabs in viral transport medium (33595, 33625). Collect bronchoalveolar lavage and specimens from normally sterile sites in a sterile, leak-proof container (37777). Transport the specimen to the Microbiology laboratory (6004 BT) immediately.

            Respiratory Virus PCR: This panel covers these analytes: Influenza A (includes H1N1/2009), Influenza B, Parainfluenza 1, 2, 3, and 4, Respiratory Syncytial virus A and b, Adenovirus, Human Metapneumovirus, Human Rhinovirus/Enterovirus (not distinguished), Coronavirus, Chlamydia pneumoniae and Mycoplasma pneumoniae.

            Nasopharyngeal swab: Collect specimen using the flexible minitip flocked swab (Hospital Stores #33595). Measure the distance from the patient's nostril to the nasopharynx (half the distance from nostril to base of the ear) and hold the swab at that location. Do not advance the swab beyond that point. Gently insert the swab along the base of one nostril (straight back, not upwards) and continue along the floor of the nasal passage until reaching the nasopharynx. Rotate swab 2-3 times and hold in place for 5 seconds. Place swab in tube containing viral transport medium. Break off the excess length of swab at the score mark to permit capping of the tube.

            Mycoplasma PCR: Collect throat swab in ESwab (74541).

            1. BK Virus: Collect on 6 ml pink (EDTA) top tube. For urine, collect in a sterile container. Gray top urine culture tubes are unacceptable for testing. Deliver to laboratory immediately.
            2. HSV 1,2 or VZV PCR: submit CSF in sterile container. Submit vesicle fluid, surface swab, or BAL (sputum and tracheal aspirates are unacceptable) in UTM media. Transport to laboratory immediately.
            3. Enterovirus PCR: submit CSF in sterile container. Keep on ice and deliver to laboratory immediately.
            4. EBV PCR: Collect one 5 mL pink (EDTA) top tube. For CSF collect a minimum of 1.0 mL in a sterile container. Deliver to laboratory immediately after collection. EBV PCR is useful only for diagnosis and monitoring of posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorder and similar disorders and is not appropriate for the diagnosis of mononucleosis or meningitis/encephalitis in immunocompetent patients.
            5. CMV Quantitative PCR: Collect one 5 mL pink (EDTA) top tube. For CSF collect a minimum of 0.5 mL in a sterile container. Deliver to laboratory immediately.
            6. CMV Qualitative PCR: Submit a minimum of 2.0 mL BAL or 1.0 mL of amniotic fluid in a sterile container. Transport to laboratory immediately.
            7. HIV Viral Load by PCR, Hepatitis C Virus RNA by PCR and Hepatitis B Virus DNA by PCR: For each test collect at least 6 mL whole bold in one pink (EDTA) top tube. Deliver immediately to laboratory. Each test requires a dedicated collection tube and cannot be added onto a previously opened Vacutainer ® tube. All collection tubes need to be processed within 6 hours of collection.
            8. Neisseria gonorrhoeae & Chlamydia trachomatis Detection by PCR: Amplified DNA (PCR) testing is recommended for urine, endocervical, oral or pharyngeal and rectal swab. Culture is recommended for suspected failure of therapy.
              1. Endocervical, oral or pharyngeal, rectal swab: Use only the smaller swab provided in the Swab Collection Kit (Hospital Stores No. 143672). The larger swab in the kit should only be used for cleaning excess mucous from the cervix. Do not use this larger swab to collect a cervical sample any tubes received with the larger swab will be rejected.
              2. Urine: The patient should not have voided for at least one hour prior to sample collection. The urine can be collected in a typical collection cup (not provided in the kit). Use the plastic transfer pipette provided in the Urine Collection Kit (Hospital Stores No. 143671) transfer urine from the collection cup into the transport tube until the liquid level in the tube reaches the black dashed lines of the transport tube label or else a new specimen should be collected. Do not overfill.

              After collection, urine specimens may be stored and transported at 2°C to 30°C for up to 8 days. If longer storage is needed, specimens in Xpert Collection Kits may be stored at 2°C to 30°C for up to 45 days.

              Refer to the Xpert Specimen Collection product inserts for detailed sample collection instructions:

              Geisinger Medical Laboratories Microbiology Specimen Collection Instructions

              Anaerobic Transport Media (ATM): Order from GML Client Services. Store at room temperature. Do not expose to sunlight. Observe expiration date.

              1. SPECIMEN COLLECTION
              1. Collection of liquid or purulent specimens.
              1. Collect specimen from deep within the wound with sterile syringe and needle. If possible, the skin should be disinfected before needle puncture. Air trapped in syringe should be expelled by holding syringe and needle upright. Expel air at tip of syringe into alcohol saturated sponge. Set aside with sponge or shield on needle.
              2. Peel apart package and remove transport. Do not touch or contaminate rubber port in the lid.
              3. Inject up to 5 ml of fluid into the transport media through the rubber port. If greater than 5 ml of fluid is obtained, place the entire volume (up to 50 ml) in a sterile screw-cap specimen cup.
              4. Transport to the laboratory.
              5. Fluid is submitted in the ATM , sterile cup or sterile tubes. This is also acceptable for routine aerobic culture, fungal, and AFB culture.
              1. If a tissue is small enough to easily fit inside the ATM tube, simply uncap the tube and, while holding the tube upright, drop the tissue onto the agar surface and replace the tube cap.
              2. If a tissue is too large to fit into the ATM, place it on a piece of sterile gauze moistened with physiolologic saline inside a sterile screw cap collection cup.
              3. Tissue submitted in ATM or in a sterile cup is also acceptable for routine aerobic, fungal and AFB culture.

              C. Collection by ESwab (Swabs are not the preferred collection method for anaerobic culture).

              1. Peel apart package and remove the swab.
              2. Using the swab, obtain specimen using aseptic technique to avoid superficial contaminants. It may be necessary to separate the wound margins or make a small lance in a closed abscess before extending the tip of the swab deeply into the wound. Take care not to touch the adjacent skin margins.
              3. Remove the tube cap while holding the tube upright.
              4. Place the swab into the tube and break it off at the score line.
              5. Place the cap back on the tube and tighten the cap.
              6. Do not place more than one swab in each ESwab tube.
              7. Do not remove the liquid media from the tube.

              Be sure to label all specimens properly and take to laboratory immediately.

              1. Within hospital: Transport as soon as possible to the Microbiology lab. If
                sent through the tube system, be sure to adequately cushion the ATM to
                prevent breakage.
              2. Via the courier: Transport as soon as possible. Store the specimen at room
                temperature for up to 72 hours if same-day transport is not possible.

              Koneman EW, 1988. Color Atlas and Textbook of Diagnostic Microbiology. JD Lippincott, Philadelphia.

              Specimen Transport

              Customized Shipping Instructions

              Find customized instructions by answering a questionnaire (requires sign in).

              Dangerous Goods Training

              Access self-paced online training and certification for safe collection, handling, packaging, and shipment of specimens.

              Shipping Guides

              View and print comprehensive shipping guides for U.S. and international locations.

              Transportation Regulations

              View transportation rules published by federal and international agencies.

              Courier Instructions

              View information about how to safely and legally package and ship medical specimens.

              Phlebotomist Instructions

              View and print a guide for packaging and shipping medical specimens.

              CDC Permit

              Print the CDC permit to send with the specimen (international only).

              Watch the video: Human Biology Chapter 12 Skeletal System (May 2022).


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