The end of March marked the retirement of St George’s Hospital Virologist Dr David Carrington.
|Category||Bacteriology Medical Microbiology|
|Reporting frequency||TAT - Culture results are available from 7 days|
Sterile Liquid Amies Medium with fine flexible twisted wire shaft rayon bud swab for nasopharyngeal specimens. Sample the posterior nasopharynx using a nasopharyngeal swab (NPS) or pernasal swab (PNS). The PNS needs to be gently pushed along the floor of the nasal cavity towards the posterior wall of the nasopharynx as this is where the B. pertussis bacteria are most likely to be found. After sampling, place the PNS for culture in transport media and transfer it without delay to the laboratory for processing. Sampling of nasopharyngeal secretions in patients with whooping cough may precipitate a paroxysm of coughing and cause obstruction of the airways. Resuscitation equipment must be available if whooping cough is suspected. The specimen collector should avoid exposure to direct coughs from the patient
Timing the specimen collection is important. Sensitivity decreases with patient age and also decreases with time after onset and is highly dependent on specimen quality. Sensitivity decreases substantially, from approximately 60% within 1 week of symptom onset to culture to 10% or less after 4 weeks. This means it is vital to have accurate details about the onset of symptoms on the patient request form.
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