Inappropriate Specimens Submitted for Anaerobic Cultures

The Microbiology Laboratory has recently seen an increase in inappropriate specimens submitted for anaerobic culture.  The following is a list of specimens that are likely to be contaminated with anaerobic normal flora and are NOT routinely accepted for anaerobic culture.
Throat or nasopharyngeal swabs
Gingival or other intraoral surface swabs
Expectorated sputum
Sputum obtained by nasotracheal or endotracheal suction
Bronchial washings
Voided or catheterized urine
Vaginal or cervical swabs
Gastric and small bowel contents (except for "blind loop" or bacterial overgrowth syndrome)
Feces (except for specific etiologic agents such as C. difficile and C. botulinum)
Rectal swabs
Surface swabs from ulcers and wounds (collect material from below the surface)
Material adjacent to a mucous membrane that has not been adequately decontaminated
Additional information regarding the proper collection and transport of material for anaerobic cultures is available in the Web-Based Pathology Laboratory Services Handbook.  Questions should be directed to the Microbiology Laboratory at 6-2591.