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close this bookBasic Laboratory Procedures in Clinical Bacteriology (WHO; 1991; 128 pages)
View the documentPreface
View the documentIntroduction
open this folder and view contentsQuality assurance in microbiology
close this folderPart I. Bacteriological investigations
open this folder and view contentsBlood
open this folder and view contentsCerebrospinal fluid
open this folder and view contentsUrine
open this folder and view contentsStool
close this folderLower respiratory tract infections
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentThe most common infections
View the documentCollection of sputum specimens
View the documentProcessing of sputum in the laboratory (for non-tuberculous infections)
View the documentCulture for Mycobacterium tuberculosis
View the documentGeneral note on safety
open this folder and view contentsUpper respiratory tract infections
open this folder and view contentsSexually transmitted diseases
open this folder and view contentsPurulent exudates, wounds, and abscesses
open this folder and view contentsAnaerobic bacteriology
open this folder and view contentsAntimicrobial susceptibility testing
open this folder and view contentsPart II. Essential media and reagents for isolation and identification of clinical pathogens
View the documentSelected further reading
View the documentSelected WHO publications of related interest
View the documentBack Cover

General note on safety

Sputum should always be treated with care, and leakproof specimen containers should be used. This is particularly important if the postal service has to be used. Furthermore, it is advisable that all procedures involving sputum (even when tuberculosis is not mentioned on the request form) should be carried out in a bacteriological safety box. Even a home-made version is better than none at all.

Particular care needs to be taken when bottles are being opened, closed, or shaken, and when materials are being centrifuged. The production of infected aerosols may infect laboratory personnel and appropriate occupational health procedures should be applied.1


1 Technical guide for sputum examination for tuberculosis by direct microscopy. Bulletin of the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases, Suppl. 2, 1978.

Transportation of cultures of M. tuberculosis through the post to the national reference laboratory presents special risks in the event of accidents or breakage of the container, and only approved containers and dispatch materials conforming to postal requirements should be used.

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