Ideally, specimens should be collected by a physician or other trained personnel. The patient should sit in front of a light source. While the tongue is kept down with a tongue depressor, a sterile cotton-wool swab is rubbed vigorously over each tonsil, over the back wall of the pharynx, and over any other inflamed area. Care should be taken not to touch the tongue or buccal surfaces. It is preferable to take two swabs from the same areas. One can be used to prepare a smear, while the other is placed into a glass or plastic container and sent to the laboratory. Alternatively, both swabs may be placed in the container and dispatched to the laboratory. If the specimen cannot be processed within 4 hours, the swab should be placed in a transport medium (e.g., Amies or Stuart).