Pathology Handbook


Test Includes

  • Microscopy
  • Culture for aerobic and anaerobic bacteria
  • Microscopy for acid fast bacilli (AFB) and culture for Mycobacteria if clinically indicated or specifically requested

Clinical Indications


Request Form 

Request via ICE


On request during routine working hours

Specific Criteria

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

Turnaround Time

Same routine working day for microscopy
Routine bacterial culture: 48 hours for preliminary negative report; up to 72 hours to identify and perform antibiotic sensitivity testing on significant organisms; up to 7 days for fastidious anaerobe culture
Mycobacterial culture: up to 6 weeks for negative report


Fluid pus is preferred; a bacterial swab in transport medium is a poor alternative


Maximum 25ml


White capped universal

Large white top universal


Samples should be transported to laboratory immediately

Causes for Rejection

Unlabelled / inadequately labelled sample
Leaking sample
Delay in sample reaching laboratory

Lab Handling

Process as soon as possible