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Diphtheria Culture



Bacterial culture for the isolation and identification of Corynebacterium diphtheriae & Corynebacterium ulcerans.


Diagnosis of / investigation for Diptheria / Cutaneous Diptheria


Throat & Wound Swab

Specimen container

Charcoal transwab

Special Instructions

Consult Microbiologist immediately if suspected clinically. Do not remove membrane if present – there is a danger of asphyxiation. Diphtheria is a vaccine preventable disease and is now exceedingly rare in England & Wales (<10 cases per year). All recent cases have been associated with foreign travel, or contact with an overseas person, or laboratory-acquired.

Send wound swab if “tropical” travel associated skin ulceration, and write travel details on request form.


Processed locally at RD&E

Any isolates will be sent to a reference laboratory for confirmation and toxigenicity testing.

Reference Laboratory

Vaccine Preventable Bacteria Reference Unit – UKHSA Colindale

Turnaround Time

24-72 Hours (for initial culture)

Urgent Specimen Instructions

Contact Microbiology if this is suspected

Useful Links

For Patients:

Diphtheria – NHS

For Healthcare Professionals:

Diptheria: Guidance, data and analysis – UKHSA

Specimen Labelling Procedure
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UKAS Medical logo


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