Geisinger Medical Laboratories Microbiology Specimen Collection Instructions



There are few occasions for obtaining a routine nasopharyngeal culture. It is the specimen of choice for Bordetella culture.


Minitip swab


  1. Use over-the-shoulder illumination.
  2. With the thumb of one hand, gently elevate the tip of the nose. Remove excess secretions or exudate from the anterior nares.
  3. Moisten the tip of a small minitip swab with sterile water or saline and gently insert it into one of the nares.
  4. Guide the swab backward and upward along the nasal septum until a distinct "give" and resistance indicates that the posterior pharynx has been reached. If undue resistance is met, possibly due to a deviated nasal septum, repeat the procedure with the other naris.
  5. Rotate the swab on the nasopharyngeal membrane and allow it to remain in place for 10 or 15 seconds.
  6. Insert the swab into the appropriate transport media.


Koneman EW, 1988. Atlas and Textbook of Diagnostic Microbiology. JB Lippincott, Philadelphia.

Miller JM. 1999. A Guide to Specimen Management in Clinical Microbiology. ASM Press. Washington DC.  2nd Edition.

Reviewed: 3/4/2011











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