Cotton-tipped swabs may be used to collect specimens. If prepared locally, it is important to ensure that the cotton fits tightly on the stick.
The swab should be moistened with sterile nonbacteriostatic fluid or transport medium (not lubricating gel), inserted through the rectal sphincter, rotated, and withdrawn. The swab should be examined for faecal staining. The number of swabs to be collected will depend on the types of investigation required. Swabs taken in this way may also be used for microscopic examination for protozoa, but freshly passed stool is preferred.
If the swab is to be processed within 2 hours, it should be placed in a sterile empty tube with a cotton plug or screw cap. If it is to be kept for longer than 2 hours, it should be inoculated into transport medium.