Investigation of surgical and non-surgical superficial skin and wound infections such as cellulitis, burns, bite wounds and ulcers (including pus, placental and penile swabs).
The skin is colonised by normally non-harmful flora. When the skin is broken as a result of trauma, burns, bites or surgical procedures, colonisation with a range of bacteria may occur. Infections of the skin and subcutaneous tissues are caused by a wide range of organisms, however the majority are caused by Staphylococcus aureus and β haemolytic streptococci groups A, C and G.
Certain organisms are often typically associated with specific clinical conditions in skin and soft tissue infections, however, overlaps in clinical presentation do occur. Diagnosis is normally based on clinical presentation. Guidelines for diagnosis and management have been published which focus on a wide range of SSTIs from minor superficial to life threatening infections. Microbiological cultures may be undertaken to establish the causative organism enabling antibiotic sensitivity testing which is essential to ensure optimal treatment regimens.
Sample the inflamed area/exudate using an appropriate swab and aseptic technique.
Specimens should be collected and transported in COPAN E-swabs
Limitations & restrictions
If processing is delayed, refrigeration at +2 to +8oC is preferable to ambient temperature.
Delays over 48 hours are undesirable.
A sample of pus is preferable to a pus swab for investigation. Where possible samples should be taken prior to antibiotic therapy.
Microbiology Lab, James Cook University Hospital, Marton Road, TS4 3BW
Please see Bacteriology e-Swab user guide
Please provide all relevant clinical details to allow for optimal investigation of the sample.