Dedicated to protecting the health and safety
of Nebraskans through diagnostic laboratory
science, technology, and education.
Testing Results
IMPORTANT! Sites requesting testing must have approval from the appropriate state or local health department before submitting specimens. Approval must be sent to NPHL by email at or by calling (402) 559-9444.

A Special Microbiology Form must accompany the specimens. Some tests require additional forms and patient history. This will be listed below when applicable. When requested, testing will not be performed without all required information.

Please call NPHL Client Services at (402) 559-2440 or toll free at (866) 290-1406 for further clarification.


  Test: Culture, Anaerobic and Aerobic with Gram Stain 
  Synonym: Abscess Culture, Wound Culture, Anaerobic Culture 
  Method: Standard reference procedures for gram stain, aerobic culture, anaerobic culture, and identification of potential pathogen; susceptibility performed when indicated 
  Availability: Daily; preliminary report at 1 day and final report at 5 days for anaerobes. Cultures showing no bacterial growth will be reported after 24 hours. 
  Specimen: Pus tissue, or other material properly obtained from an abscess, biopsy, aspirate, drainage, exudate, lesion, or wound 
  Collection Device: One anaerobic culturette and two aerobic culturettes or 0.5 mL pus or other fluid from aspirated site in syringe with needle removed and replaced with a cap. Some anaerobes will be destroyed by contact with oxygen for only a few seconds. Overlying and adjacent areas of the wound/abscess must be carefully disinfected to eliminate contamination with normal aerobic flora. Sampling of open lesions is enhanced by deep aspiration using a sterile catheter. Curettings of the base of an open lesion are optimal. If irrigation is necessary, sterile normal saline may be used. 
  Volume: 0.5 mL for fluid 
  Storage/Transport: Ambient; ideally, pus or other fluid obtained by needle aspiration are transported to the lab as soon as possible in a capped syringe  
  Unacceptable: Specimens which have been refrigerated or are not received in an anaerobic transport swab or closed syringe, specimens from sites which have anaerobic bacteria as normal flora (throat, feces, colostomy sites, rectal swabs, bronchial washes, cervical-vaginal mucosal swabs, sputum, skin and superficial wounds, voided or catheterized urine, and decubitus ulcer), nonsterile or leaking containers, dry swabs, dry material, and syringes with needles attached. 
  Specimen Stability: Specimens are stable at ambient but should be sent to the lab ASAP 
  Reference Interval: No aerobic or anaerobic growth 
  Reportable Disease:  
  Comments: Note suspected organism(s) on the test request form. Culture of specimens from sites harboring endogenous anaerobic organisms or contaminated by endogenous organisms may be misleading with regard to etiology and appropriate therapy. Organism identification is performed when clinically-relevant organisms are suspected. Antimicrobial susceptibilities are performed on clinically-relevant isolates when appropriate, following methods recommended by CLSI. Call laboratory for a list of routine susceptibility panels. 
  Revised: 7/7/2011 


If you have questions about proper specimen collection, please call NPHL Client Services at (402) 559-2440 or toll free at (866) 290-1406.