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Chapter 8.2 : Specimen Selection, Collection, and Transport
Suitable specimen selection, proper specimen collection, and rapid specimen transport must be performed to ensure the successful isolation of the etiologic agent of a fungal infection. To establish or confirm the diagnosis of a suspected fungal infection, it is essential for the clinician to provide the laboratory with adequate specimens for evaluation. Also, it is essential for the laboratory to have guidelines for the clinician regarding minimum specimen volumes and appropriate specimen transport (e.g., a laboratory manual or web page). The microbiology laboratory should be notified if an unusual pathogen or an organism that can be a significant laboratory hazard is suspected, as some require special handling or special stains. Examples of unusual fungal and bacterial pathogens, respectively, include Malassezia spp. (some species require the addition of olive oil to culture media) and Nocardia spp. (which are more easily detected on a modified acid-fast stain [see section 6 of this handbook]). Examples of potential laboratory hazards include Coccidioides immitis and Histoplasma capsulatum. Additionally, the microbiology laboratory should be contacted prior to certain procedures, as some specimens for fungal culture may require bedside inoculation onto appropriate culture media (e.g., corneal scrapings).