General Guidelines

Correct specimen collection and shipping of Microbiology specimens are critical for rapid and accurate identification of significant microorganisms.

  1. Check expiration date of sterile containers/tubes/swabs, etc. prior to collecting specimen. Do not use if expired.
  2. Designated sterile containers/tubes/swabs etc. must be used for any culture (except stool cultures).
  3. Collection containers should be closed tightly and precautions taken to prevent leakage of the specimen during shipping.
  4. Whenever possible, obtain specimen prior to the administration of antibiotics.
  5. Use the bar code label with patient’s name and ID to identify the specimen.
  6. Place the labeled specimen in a plastic Transport Bag.
  7. Hold culture at the proper temperature. Please refer to individual culture guidelines.
  8. Due to short stability, specimens must be collected and shipped to the laboratory Monday through Friday only.