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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: AFB Culture w/ Smear 
  Synonym: AFB Culture, TB Culture w/ smear 
  Method: Standard reference procedures for stain and culture. Biochemical standard reference procedures are used for rapid growers. 
  Availability: Monday - Friday by 0800; stat requests are performed by approval of a pathologist. Acid fast stain reported at 24 hours, preliminary negative report at 4 weeks, final report at 8 weeks, positives are reported as soon as identified. 
  Specimen: Early morning sputum or urine, BAL, gastric aspirate, body fluid, or tissue 
  Collection Device: Sterile leak-proof container 
  Volume: 10 - 15 mL sputum , 1.0 - 5.0 mL CSF, 5.0 - 10.0 mL gastric aspirate , >40 mL urine, 5.0 - 10.0 mL body fluid or tissue 
  Storage/Transport: Refrigerate 
  Unacceptable: Multiple same-site specimens in 24 hour period, dry material, non-sterile or leaking containers, insufficient volume (<2 mL sputum or <1 mL body fuid), stools, and swabs 
  Specimen Stability: Stable at refrigerated, but send to lab ASAP 
  Reference Interval: Negative at 8 weeks 
  Reportable Disease:  
  Comments: Collection of early morning specimens of urine and sputum on each of 3 consecutive days is optimum. Gastric lavage specimens must be neutralized with sodium carbonate if transport to lab is delayed for more than 4 hours. Collect gastric aspirate 8 hours after food ingestion. Suggest collection of gastric aspirates for 3 consecutive days. Indicate source of specimen on the lab form. For tissue submit skin lesions or other tissue and keep moistened with sterile saline. Indicate if mycobacteria other than tuberculosis (MOTT) is suspected. This may expedite identification. Additional information to include when submitting a specimen for culture: patient's PPD status, BCG immunization history, and prior anti-tuberculosis therapy. Indentification performed on positives. Susceptibility performed on MOTT by request. Susceptibility testing of M. gordonae from sputum is usually inappropriate. DNA probes available for M. tuberculosis complex, M. avium-intracellulare complex, M. gordonae and M. kansasii as indicated.  
  Revised: 2/13/2012 


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