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CSF – Microscopy and Culture



Cerebrospinal fluid

Specimen container

Sterile white top universal pot

Special Instructions

Please send first and third specimens to Microbiology

Transport to the laboratory

CSF specimens for microbiology can be sent in the pneumatic tube system (POD) during 9am – 5pm

If you are taking an urgent CSF out of hours – please call a porter for immediate transport to the old pathology building and contact the On Call Microbiology Biomedical Scientist through the hospital switchboard for urgent microscopy. Specimens where possible should be taken prior to commencement of antibiotic therapy, and should reach microbiology within 2 hours. Do not refrigerate specimen until after microscopy and bacterial culture have been performed.

Samples taken after 4am will be processed at 8am if labelled “urgent”, and need not be telephoned.

Test Usage

Diagnosis of meningitis / encephalitis


Local test for bacterial tests – microscopy, cell count, gram staining & culture.

Reference Laboratory

Cryptococcal antigen sent to ref lab.

Processing Time

Please phone the laboratory if urgent microscopy results are required (except between 4am and 8am).

Specimen Labelling Procedure
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