Pathology Handbook

High vaginal swab



Clinical Indications

Test Includes

Microscopy for White blood cells, epithelial cells, yeasts, bacterial vaginosis and Trichomonas vaginalis
Culture for yeasts; culture for bacterial pathogens, if indicated by microscopy or clinical information

Request Form

ICE request


On request during routine working hours

Specific Criteria

High vaginal swabs are NOT suitable for the isolation of Neisseria gonorrhoeae or the detection of Chlamydia trachomatis

If gonorrhoea is suspected, send cervical and urethral swabs or, refer the patient to the Department of Genito-Urinary Medicine.

If Chlamydia trachomatis is suspected please refer to 'Chlamydia Detection' page

Please give detailed clinical information, including the date of onset/contact with the suspected infection and any current or intended antibiotic therapy

Turnaround Time

48 hours, up to 72 hours to identify and perform antibiotic sensitivity on significant organisms


Bacterial swab in transport medium


Routine swab small


Samples should be transported to laboratory immediately. If this is not possible the sample should be stored at room temperature and must reach the laboratory within 48 hours of collection

Causes for Rejection

Unlabelled / inadequately labelled sample
Delay in sample reaching laboratory
  - samples >48 hours old on receipt will be rejected

Lab Handling

Samples should be processed as soon as possible