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Testing Results
IMPORTANT! Pre-approval needed from state or local health department. Local or State Health Department. Send approval to or call (402) 559-9444.

NPHL has moved to an electronic ordering system, NUlirt, and it is now the preferred method to order all tests. Once ordered, print a "batch list" (see NUlirt Guide).

Forms Required - Nulirt batch list or NPHL Test Request Form (completed in entirety) must accompany the specimen to include the following information: symptoms and date of onset, pregnancy status, travel and vaccine history. Testing will not be performed without all required information.


  Test: Culture, Anaerobic and Aerobic with Gram Stain
Order in NUlirt or complete NPHL Test Order Form  
  Synonym: Aerobic/Anaerobic, Wound culture  
  Method: Test includes: Gram stain, isolation and identification of potential aerobic and anaerobic pathogens, and initiation of antibiotic susceptibility tests when indicated.  
  Availability: Test performed Daily; Preliminary report at 24h. Turn-around-time 24-72h.  Complete reports of cultures with anaerobic bacteria may take as long as 5 days after receipt of culture, depending upon the nature of the organisms isolated. Final report is at 5 days.  
  Specimen: One anaerobic Culturette and two aerobic Culturette tubes or 0.5 mL pus or other fluid from aspirated site in syringe with needle removed and replaced with a cap. Pus tissue, or other material properly obtained from an abscess, biopsy, aspirate, drainage, exudate, lesion, or wound.

Body fluid; peritoneal, thoracentesis, pericardial, amniotic or culdoncenteseis fluid.  Aseptically collect body fluid into a sterile container (preferred), or anaerobic vial or anaerobic culturette.  2.0 - 20.0 mL.

Specimens will also be cultured for aerobic growth.

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. Ideally, pus or other fluid obtained by needle aspiration is transported to the lab as soon as possible in a capped syringe. Sampling of open lesions is enhanced by deep aspiration using a sterile catheter. Curettings of base of an open lesion are optimal. If irrigation is necessary, sterile normal saline may be used  
  Collection Device: One anaerobic Culturette and two aerobic Culturette tubes.

Specimen Labeling: Test subject to CLIA regulations and requires 2 patient identifiers and specimen source on container.  
  Volume: >1mL fluid  
  Storage/Transport: Prior to and during shipment:  Ambient 15-25°C
Shipping instructions, including specimen-handling requirements during transport: 
Seal screw-top tubes with Parafilm™ or tape and place in biohazard bag with absorbent material.
Ship in Category B box. Place packing list or other paperwork on top of Styrofoam and lid. Mark out rigid box as UN3373 Category B, Biological Substance. Transport by NPHL ground courier. If courier not available, ship by FedEx, UPS or USPS (1st Class, Priority or Express Mail). Follow appropriate DOT/IATA Regulation Guidelines.  For assistance, call NPHL State Training Coordinator at (402) 559-3590.  
See instructions and shipping address:

NUlirt packing list or appropriate paperwork (completed in entirety) must accompany specimens.  
  Unacceptable: Nonsterile or leaking container, dry swab, dry material, syringes with needles attached, specimens submitted with anticoagulant other than SPS and frozen specimens.  Specimen which is not received in anaerobic transport swab, closed syringe or container or refrigerated are unacceptable. Specimens from sites which have anaerobic bacteria as normal flora will be rejected (e.g., throat, feces, colostomy sites, rectal swabs, bronchial washes, cervical-vaginal mucosal swabs, sputum, skin and superficial wounds, voided or catheterized urine, and decubitus ulcer).  
  Specimen Stability: Stable at  Ambient 15-25°C  
  Reference Interval: No Growth at 5d  
  Reportable Disease: Refer to Nebraska DHHS Title 173, Communicable Diseases.  
  Comments: Pre-approval needed from state or local health department.  Send approval to or call (402) 559-9444.

Culture of specimens from sites harboring endogenous anaerobic organisms or contaminated by endogenous organisms may be misleading with regard to etiology and appropriate therapy. Gram stain performed. Organism identification is performed when clinically relevant organisms are suspected. Antimicrobial susceptibilities are performed on clinically relevant isolates when appropriate, following methods (s) recommended by CLSI. Call Laboratory for list of routine susceptibility panels.

Supplemental Forms Required – NUlirt packing list or NPHL Test Order Form (completed in entirety) must accompany the specimen.  
  Revised: 3/25/2021 


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