Microbiology swabs

This page may contain an Adobe® PDF document, if you haven't got Adobe Reader installed, you can download a viewer from this link.

Microbiology Swabs (last updated 5 Jan 2012)

NOTE: any collection method requiring an invasive technique should be performed by a physician or a trained health care worker.

Swabs

A B C D E F G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Swabs

Site Container Method
EYE- Bacterial

MW171

Charcoal Transport medium

Hold the swab parallel to the cornea and gently rub the conjunctiva in the lower eyelid.  Place the swab inside the transport medium.
EYE - Chlamydia  See Chlamydia  
EYE - Viral viral swab2 Hold the swab parallel to the cornea and gently rub the conjunctiva in the lower eyelid.  Place the swab inside the transport medium. See viral swabs
EAR- Bacterial 

MW172P

Charcoal Transport medium

(wire shaft, orange top swab)

Antibiotics or other chemotherapeutic agents should not be used in the aural canal for three hours prior to the swab being taken.  Place the swab in the outer ear and rotate the swab gently.  Place the swab inside the transport medium.
NOSE- Bacterial

| MW171

Charcoal Transport medium

Moisten the swab before hand with sterile saline.  Move the swab from the anterior nares and direct it upwards into the tip of the nose and gently rotate gently.
THROAT-Bacterial 

MW171 |

Charcoal Transport medium

Ask the patient to sit in a comfortable position and depress the tongue with a spatula.  Avoid touching the mouth or tongue with the swab.  Quickly, but gently,  rub the swab over the appropriate area, usually the tonsillar fossa or the area with a lesion or visible exudate.  NB:  do not obtain throat samples if epiglottis is inflamed, as sampling may cause serious respiratory obstruction.
MOUTH-Bacterial

MW171 |

Charcoal Transport medium

Rub the swab over the appropriate area.  Place the swab inside of the transport medium.
MOUTH - Viral   viral swab2 Rub the swab over the appropriate area.  Place the swab inside of the transport medium.  See viral swabs
MRSA

MW170

Clear Transport Medium

See appropriate site for sample collection technique.
RECTAL- Bacterial 

MW171 |

Charcoal Transport medium

Pass the swab, with care, through the anus into the rectum.
RECTAL - Viral viral swab2 Swab gently any ulcerated areas and place the swab inside the transport medium. See viral swabs
CHLAMYDIA Sample collection pack See Chlamydia
CERVIX- Bacterial

MW171 |

Charcoal Transport medium

Do not use lubricant during procedure.  Wipe the cervix clean of vaginal secretions and mucous.  Rotate a sterile swab, and obtain exudate from the endocervical glands.  If no exudate is seen, insert a sterile swab (wire shaft - orange top) into the cervical canal and rotate the swab.
VAGINAL/CERVIX - Viral  viral swab2 As above, placing the swab in viral transport medium. See viral swabs 
VAGINA- Bacterial

MW171 |

Charcoal Transport medium

Use a speculum, without lubricant.  Collect secretions from the mucosa high in the vaginal canal with swab.
VIRALSWABS

viral swab2

Viral Transport medium

Swine Flu: See handout sheet

Other Viruses: See viral swabs

URETHRA - Bacterial 

MW172P

Charcoal Transport medium (wire shaft, orange top swab)

Specialist sample taken by GU Clinic.
ULCER-Bacterial  

MW171 |

Charcoal Transport medium

Remove overlying debris, curette the base of the ulcer.  If exudate is present, sample with sterile swab.  Place inside of the transport medium.
PENILE- Bacterial

MW171 |

Charcoal Transport medium

Retract the prepuce and rotate the swab gently around the urethral meatus.
PENILE - Viral viral swab2 Swab gently any ulcerated areas and place the swab inside the transport medium. See viral swabs
WHOOPING COUGH (Pertussis)   Swab technique withdrawn. Refer patient to the hospital paediatric team for Nasophargeal Aspriate
WOUND-Bacterial

MW171 |

Charcoal Transport medium

Fluid or pus is preferable to swab collection.  If the wound shows signs of clinical infection (heat, redness, swelling, discharge, etc.) this may indicate a deep-seated infection.  In this case, the wound should be cleaned, or irrigated, with normal saline.  Rotate the swab in the discharge present or the base of the wound to ensure good contact.