Sample collection

Samples must be collected and packaged well for the tests to return a reliable result and prevent the need for repeat samples. Further information about sample containers, transportation and acceptance can be found in the Wythenshawe Hospital Laboratory Medicine handbook.

Respiratory samples

Respiratory samples are a potential biohazard and must be packaged carefully for the protection of staff

  • Tubes should be double-bagged, with a biohazard sticker placed on the outer ziploc bag
  • Trap tubing must be replaced with a secure screw-top lid, in order to prevent leaks
  • Category B transport boxes must be used for transport by road or between sites (but are not necessary within the hospital)
  • For more detailed information please see the MFT Laboratory Medicine website

Biosafety Category 3 organisms

Samples from returning travellers, or patients who have previously lived abroad (even several years ago), can occasionally contain Biosafety Category 3 fungi, particularly the endemic mycoses such as Coccidioides/Histoplasma/Talaromyces. These require special precautions and equipment to be handled safely and prevent transmission to laboratory staff. Please note any relevant travel history on the referral form.

  • Click here to read a case study about a dental sample submitted to us that was found to contain the endemic fungus Paracoccidioides (poster presented at ECCMID2022)

Nails & skin

  • Collect into a Dermapak (black card packet) or a sterile universal
  • Sellotape and other stationary supplies may contain contaminating fungi
  • Scalp samples should be collected by hair plucking or scraping with a scalpel (collection using a toothbrush prevents microscopic examination)
  • Please collect plenty of material
  • Clean lesions with surgical spirit or 70% ethanol before collection
  • Store at room temperature – many dermatophytes cannot survive in the fridge
  • For more detailed collection instructions please see the Leeds Teaching Hospital website