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Throat Swab Culture


Specimens may not be processed if there is a lack of clinical details. Please consider if samples are clinically required and would change management. 


Culture of Throat swabs for the isolation and identification of Bacterial and/or Fungal Pathogens.

Antimicrobial sensitivity testing is performed as appropriate.


To determine the presence of Bacterial and/or Fungal pathogens which may be causing an infection.


Throat Swab

Specimen Container

Charcoal Swab

How To Request On EPIC

For electronic requesting using EPIC (RDUH ONLY):

Search for: ‘Throat Swab MC&S‘ or test code ‘LAB236

Special Instructions

Please provide relevant clinical details with the request: this helps the lab process the sample correctly and provide the best result for the patient:

Please state the site of swab.

Please state clearly the following: whether the patient is diabetic, any history of foreign travel in the last 6 months, if the patient is immunocompromised, current and recent antibiotic therapy.

Is this a screening swab? (e.g. for MRSA/MSSA)

Does the patient have a persistent sore throat or peritonsillar abscess (Quinsy)? Do you require culture for Fusobacterium?

Please do not repeat in under 48 hours.

Specimen Collection

  1. Where possible specimens should be collected before starting any antimicrobial therapy.
  2. Use aseptic technique.
  3. Throat swabs should be taken from the tonsillar area and/or posterior pharynx,
    avoiding the tongue and uvula.
  4. Immediately after collection the swab should be returned to its plastic sheath (placed into the transport medium.)
  5. Label the sample with at least three identifiers (Name, D.O.B & NHS or Hospital No.) and place into a specimen bag.
  6. Transport to the laboratory as soon as possible.
  7. If transport is delayed, refrigeration is preferable to storage at ambient temperature.


Tested in house at RD&E

Turnaround Time

24– 72 Hours

Specimen Labelling Procedure
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