We test for a wide range of bacterial infections and viruses. Swabs from any site should be taken into Amies charcoal transport medium before transport to the laboratory where they may be cultured under aerobic, microaerophilic and/or anaerobic conditions.
Blood culture medium should be used for, in addition to blood samples, other body fluid samples, e.g. peritoneal and pleural fluids and especially for synovial fluid and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), from which it is often difficult to isolate pathogens.
Swab samples for PCR testing should be sent either as plain swabs (if delivered soon after collection) or in standard transport medium and moistened with normal (not formol) saline. Fluid and faecal samples should be sent in sterile containers and tissue samples should be unfixed and sent in normal (not formol) saline.