Microbiology Collections

Blood and Body Fluids

Site or Specimen: Blood (Peripheral)
Preparation Chlorhexidine 2% prep can be used, or Cleanse skin with 70% alcohol followed by 2% tincture of iodine (an iodophor may be substituted).
Type, Number or Volume Routine collection must be 2 sets; Adults 15ml per set; infants 1-3ml, for bacterial endocarditis draw 3 specimens at least 1 hour apart in a 24 hour period; 4-6 specimens in 48 hours if intermittent bacteremias.
Container or Transport Device Blood Culture bottles for direct inoculation. Volume of blood in each bottle:
  • Aerobic - (blue): 10ml
  • Anaerobic - (yellow): 5ml
  • Pediatric - (Pink): 1-3 ml (min. 1 ml)
  • Fungus - (Red): 5 ml
Technique Sterile venipuncture into syringe or directly in collection tube with adapter; catheters should not be used.
Comments Deliver to lab as soon as possible. Do not refrigerate. Due to possible contamination, draw from IV lines as last resort.
Site or Specimen: Catheters (Central or peripheral)
Vascular cannulae, CVP lines, umbilical or IV catheters
Preparation Cleanse skin with mild antiseptic, cut catheter with sterile scissors.
Type, Number or Volume For 50-75mm catheter, one segment 50mm long; for 200-600mm catheter two segments 50mm long (one from skin interface, one from within vessel, i.e. tip).
Container or Transport Device Sterile tube or container.
Technique Take specimen from afflicted area, preferably including fresh secretions.
Comments Most valuable for assessing infection from catheters with local signs of inflammation. Does not replace blood culture.
Body Fluids (other than CSF, Ascites, Joint Cavity or Percardial Pleural)
Preparation Surgical skin preparation and sterile instruments.
Type, Number or Volume Several milliliters are desirable, but may not be obtainable (2-5ml required).
Container or Transport Device Sterile tube for cultures. Container with anticoagulant (heparin) for cell count only.
Technique Sterile aspiration with syringe. Ascites fluid may be quite proteineous or may clot.
Comments To lab within 1 hour. Do not add fluids which may precipitate protein and interfere with cell count.
CSF (Cerebrospinal fluid)
Preparation Cleanse skin with 70% alcohol followed by 2% tincture of iodine (an iodophor may be substituted). Chlorhexidine 2% prep, drape with sterile linen, and collect fluid for bacteriology first.
Type, Number or Volume 1-2 ml for bacteria, 5-10 ml for fungi and myco-bacteria.
Container or Transport Device Leak proof sterile screw top tube.
Technique Sterile lumbar puncture by physician. Ventricular or suboccipital tap. Collect 3-5 tubes.
Comments Send to lab immediately. Do not refrigerate.