Pathology Handbook

Nose swab

Clinical Indications


Test Includes

Culture for potential pathogens

Request Form 

Request via ICE


On request during normal working hours

Specific Criteria

If whooping cough (pertussis) is suspected, per-nasal swabs must be submitted. Special swabs are available from the Pathology Department on request.
Please give detailed clinical information, including date of onset/contact with the suspected infection, and any current, or intended, antibiotic therapy

Turnaround Time

48 hours for a negative (no pathogens isolated) report; 72 hours if potential pathogens require identification and antibiotic sensitivity testing; 5 days for a per-nasal swab


Bacterial culture swab in transport medium (see also Specific Criteria)


Routine swab small

Special conditions

In suspected influenza where nose and throat swabs are required these must be collected using special green 'Virocult' swabs


Samples should be transported to laboratory immediately

Causes for Rejection

Unlabelled / inadequately labelled sample
Delay in sample reaching laboratory 

Lab Handling

Samples should be processed as soon as possible