Microbiology

Urine Culture

Urine is one of the body‘s waste products. It is produced in the kidneys and collected in the bladder. Normally the urine does not contain significant numbers of any bacteria. However, if bacteria or yeast are introduced into the urinary tract, they can multiply and cause a urinary tract infection, (UTI).

How to collect Midstream Sample for Urine Culture

Your doctor or another healthcare professional should give you a sterile container and explain to you how to collect the urine sample,

Please DO NOT use empty medicine bottles or jars.

You can collect a urine sample at any time of day.

What is a mid-stream urine sample?

A mid-stream urine sample means that you don’t collect the first part of urine that comes out or the last part. This reduces the risk of the sample being contaminated with bacteria from:

• Your hands

• The skin around the urethra (tube that carries urine out of the body)

Collection of a clean urine sample for microscopy and culture :

• Wash your hands

• Males should wash their penis

• Females should wash their genitals, including between the labia (lips around the entrance to the vagina)

• Start to urinate but don’t collect the first part of urine that comes out

• Collect a sample of urine ‘mid-stream’ (as described above) in a sterile screw-top sterile container

• Collect approx 20 mls of urine to fill the container

• Screw the lid of the container shut

• Wash your hands thoroughly

• Label the container with your name, date of birth and the date

Storing a urine sample until you hand it in.

Ideally, your urine sample needs to be handed in and sent for testing within four hours. If you can’t hand your urine sample in within this time you should keep it in the fridge at 4ºC. If the urine sample isn’t kept in a fridge, the bacteria in it can multiply. This may affect the test results.

Results

The results for a urine sample where other examinations have been requested will be available after 48 -72 hours.

Collecting Urine Sample for Pregnancy Test

Your doctor or another healthcare professional should give you a sterile container and explain to you how to collect the urine sample.

Please DO NOT use empty medicine bottles or jars.

What time of day is best for it?

Urine is more concentrated the first time you urinate in the morning and therefore gives better results for this test.

Collection of a urine sample for pregnancy testing:

• Wash your hands

• Females should wash their genitals, including between the labia (lips around the entrance to the vagina)

• Start to urinate but don’t collect the first part of urine that comes out

• Collect a sample of urine in a sterile screw-top sterile container

• Collect approx 20mls of urine to fill the container

• Screw the lid of the container shut

• Wash your hands thoroughly

• Label the container with your name, date of birth and the date

Storing a urine sample until you hand it in

Ideally, your urine sample needs to be handed in and sent for testing within four hours. If you can’t hand your urine sample in within this time you should keep it in the fridge at 4ºC.

Stool Microbiology

If you have an upset stomach (gastroenteritis) and suffer with diarrhoea, your GP or another healthcare professional may ask you for a stool (faeces) sample to help them diagnose a health condition or rule it out. Stools naturally contain bacteria but the tests done in the microbiology laboratory look for those bacteria that cause infection.

Collecting a stool sample

Your GP or another healthcare professional should explain to you how to collect the stool sample.

The stool sample should be collected in a clean dry screw-top container. Your doctor or the hospital will provide you with a plastic container to use.

Please DO NOT use empty medicine bottles or jars.

Make sure that you do not collect urine or water (from the toilet) with the stool sample, as these will contaminate it. If you need to urinate, do this first, and then collect the stool sample.

To collect a stool sample:

• Wear disposable rubber or plastic gloves e.g a pair of marigolds from the supermarket

• The sample may be collected as it flows or if this is not possible then collect into a clean potty or clean container that can be discarded following the transfer into a clean screw-top container and screw the lid shut

• make sure you do not collect urine with the sample

• label the container with your name, date of birth and the date

• put the gloves and anything else you used to collect the sample in the bin and wash your hands thoroughly

Storing a stool sample until you hand it in

Stool samples must be fresh. If they are not, the bacteria in them can multiply. This means that the levels of bacteria in the stool sample will not be the same as the levels of bacteria in your digestive system. If you cannot hand your stool sample in immediately, speak to your GP or the healthcare professional who requested the test and they will be able to advise you.

Sputum Examination

Sputum (phlegm) may sometimes be useful in identifying a chest infection.

Your GP or another healthcare professional should explain to you how to collect the sputum sample.

The sputum sample should be collected in a sterile clean dry screwtop container.

Please DO NOT use empty medicine bottles or jars.

When to collect your sample?

• We want to sample material that is from deep within your lungs NOT just salivary spit from the mouth

• Firstly, rinse your mouth out with some tap water to remove any food debris etc please note patients with dentures should remove them

• Breathe deeply, cough and spit what is coughed up into the pot

• Alternatively, keep the pot at your side and when you have a bout of coughing, spit out into the pot.

• You should aim to cover the bottom of the pot with your sample

• Secure the top of the container tightly and then wash your hands

•          transport the sample to the laboratory as quickly as possible.