Pathology Handbook

Urine microbiology (MSU)



Clinical Indications


Test Includes

Automated microscopy using digital imaging

Culture for significant pathogens if indicated by microscopy

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

Patient Preparation

Turnaround Time

Microscopy - on day of receipt

Final report - <24 hours for samples not cultured; up to 48 hours to identify and perform antibiotic sensitivity on significant organisms


Mid stream urine, Red capped universal


Urine bottle micro red top


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

Lab Handling

Samples should be processed as soon as possible

Causes for Rejection

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

Reference Range

Culture performed if the following is met:
WBC >40 x106/L and / or RBC >50 x106/L and / or presence of bacteria

Please note WBC <50 x106/L is not usually indicative of infection