Unacceptable Bacteriological Specimens

• Specimens received without a label or with incorrect label.
• Specimens received in unsterile container (i.e. ziplock bag) or on a dry swab.
• Stool specimen for OCP, Wright’s stain or fat stain which contains barium.
• Foley cath tips are unacceptable for culture.
• Sputum collected in alcohol or fixative.
• Pooled sputum collections (such as 24 hour collection for routine, AFB, or fungal cultures).
• Specimens for anaerobic culture collected in aerobic container.
• Sputum that is obviously saliva.
• Specimens received in containers visibly contaminated on the outside.
• Specimens received on diapers, gloves, toilet paper, bed pans, plastic bags or any other inappropriate containers.

Unsuitable for anaerobic cultures:

Sputum, Throats, NP, Bronchial washes, Vaginal or cervical swabs, Urines (voided), Stool (except for C. difficile).

Additional Notes for Bacteriology

Sites for lone anaerobic culture are highly unusual. It is recommended that both aerobic and anaerobic cultures be performed from the site being cultured.

The following culture types will include a gram stain automatically when ordered and billed separately from the culture for patient billed accounts:

Respiratory – sputum, gastric, bronchial washings, bronchial brush, etc.
External – wound, abdominal, abscess, etc.
Genital – vaginal, urethral, cervical, etc.
Body fluids – joint, spinal fluid, peritoneal, chest, ascites, etc.
OTHER – eye, surgical specimens, etc.
AFB cultures will include an AFB smear, and fungal cultures will include a KOH or a Wright stain.

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