Skin and superficial wound swab
- Lower limb ulcers will always be colonised with bacteria so a positive culture result will not distinguish clinical infection from colonisation
- If specimens are taken from ulcers, the debris on the ulcer should be removed and the ulcer should be cleaned with saline. A biopsy or, preferably, a needle aspiration of the edge of the wound should then be taken.
- A less invasive irrigation-aspiration method may be preferred. Place the tip of a small needleless syringe under the ulcer margin and irrigate gently with at least 1 mL sterile 0.85% NaCl without preservative. After massaging the ulcer margin, repeat the irrigation with a further 1 mL sterile saline. Massage the ulcer margin again, aspirate approximately 0.25 mL of the fluid and place in a 30mL sterile bottle.
- For skin mycoses skin scrapes are required
- For suspected Mycobacterial skin infection a biopsy is recommended
- Relevant clinical details
- Site of lesion
- Nature of wound e.g. bite, boil, burn, cellulitis post operative, ulcer
- If infection is recurrent
- History of immune compromise/immunosuppression treatment
- Recent, current and intended antibiotics
Store and transport at room temperature. Samples should be transported to the laboratory with minimal delay.
2 - 3 days
Page last reviewed: 20/01/2014