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Mycology Culture and Microscopy (Bacteriology)

Infection by dermatophytes is cutaneous and generally restricted to the non-living cornified layers in patients who are immunocompetent. This is because the dermatophyte group of fungi are generally unable to penetrate tissues which are not fully keratinised (ie deeper tissues and organs). However, reactions to such infections can range from mild to severe, depending upon the host's immune response, the virulence of the infecting species, the site of infection and environmental factors.

General information

Collection container (including preservatives): Specimens received in sterile containers in sealed plastic bags.
Dermapak collection kits are available from the Microbiology Department.

dermapak1 dermapak2

Specimen type: Hair, Skin, Nails

Collection: Specimens should be collected into folded paper square Dermapak collection kits secured and placed in a plastic bag designed specifically for the collection and transport of skin, nail and hair samples.

Skin scrapings and plucked hairs are the ideal specimens for diagnosing scalp infections, but in addition a sterile disposable toothbrush can be used for the collection of samples. These should be transported to the laboratory in a sterile plastic receptacle. If sufficiently long, hairs should be plucked with forceps and wrapped in black paper or commercial transport packs together with flakes of skin.

Specimen transport: Specimens should be kept at room temperature, and transported and processed as soon as possible.

Samples should be allowed to dry out and kept at room temperature. Provided the samples are kept dry, the fungus will remain viable for several months.

Minimum volume of sample: Not applicable

Special precautions: None known

Laboratory information

Measurement units: Not applicable

Turnaround time: Culture up to 3 weeks

Microscopy 24 -48 hrs

Clinical information

Clinical decision points: Clinical advice on Mycology results is available by contacting the laboratory.


(Last reviewed October 24th 2017)