Office Of Labatory Services



Stool specimens submitted to the OLS for enteric bacteriology screening are examined and tested for Salmonella species, Shigella species, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Campylobacter jejuni. Stool must be collected in Cary Blair transport media.  Collect the specimen from the patient as soon as possible after onset of illness and BEFORE START OF TREATMENT.  Collect on or in a clean container and transfer specimen to Cary Blair vial.  Stool Sample Collection Instructions are included in kits received from OLS.  Specimen collection kits are available from OLS.  Contact the Container Room at extension 2204 or complete the Specimen Collection Kit Request Form and fax to 304-558-2006.  DO NOT USE 10% FORMALIN vials for enteric bacteriology specimens.  Two or three specimens collected on different days may be necessary for diagnosis.  Check the expiration date on the Cary Blair medium and do not use if outdated.

Stool Sample Collection Instructions


The OLS will only accept stool specimens for intestinal parasitology examination from patients who are symptomatic, migrants or immigrants. Routine screening of asymptomatic individuals is not recommended. We do not perform examinations on blood smears for blood parasites. Referral to CDC is available for both blood parasites and unusual parasites upon special request and with approval from Microbiology Department supervisor. If an unusual parasite is suspected, especially in a symptomatic patient who has traveled in areas of the world where certain parasitic infections are endemic, please contact the Microbiology Department at extension 2602 for specific instructions.

Properly collected and preserved specimens for intestinal parasite examinations are of utmost importance. Collection and transport kits are available from the Container Room at OLS. Please complete the Collection Kit Request Form and fax it to 558-2006. Complete instructions for the patient are provided with collection kits.

General Instructions for Collection:

  1. Collect stool specimen in a clean container or on clean paper. DO NOT allow water or urine to be mixed with stool. Transfer a walnut-sized portion to the vial provided (10% Formalin), mix well and replace vial lid tightly. DO NOT OVERFILL.
  2. Label vial with patient’s name and date of collection.
  3. Complete the General Microbiology Request Form for each specimen. (Three specimens collected two to three days apart is recommended.)
  4. Place the specimen vial in another container with a screw cap and absorbent material and wrap the completed General Microbiology Request Form around the outside.
  5. Place the container inside another container with a screw cap and label properly for mailing.  See Shipping for more information.

Pinworm Sample Collection Instructions

Stool Sample Collection Instructions


Nasopharyngeal specimens are required for Bordetella pertussis testing.  Obtain the specimen with a small Dacron polyester swab on a fine, flexible wire.  Avoid using calcium alginate swabs for collection.  FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS PROVIDED IN SPECIMEN COLLECTION KIT.  With the patient's head immobilized, insert the swab gently into the nostril until it reaches the posterior nares, and leave in place for 15-30 seconds.  Place the swab into the Amies transport media and seal for mailing.

Pertussis specimen collection kits are available only by special request from the Microbiology Department at OLS.  Contact extension 2602 or complete the Collection Kit Request Form and fax to 304-558-6210.

Pertussis Collection Kit Instructions

Nasopharyngeal Specimen Collection Video


The OLS provides bacteriological laboratory support for epidemiological investigations of suspected foodborne disease outbreaks.  A foodborne disease outbreak is defined as an incident in which two or more individuals have the same disease or similar symptoms associated with ingestion of a common food.  The OLS is not able to perform routine examinations of food samples from single cases of suspected foodborne illness with the exception of suspected botulism or other rare diseases.

NEW POLICY:  OLS will only accept food samples for testing if patient associated with product has a documented laboratory confirmation of foodborne illness.  If prior documentation does not exist, patient must submit a stool sample to OLS for testing along with the food product.

It is required that food samples be submitted through the local health department so that an environmental survey and an epidemiological investigation can be conducted.  Prior authorization from OLS is required for the submission of food samples.

Each food items must be clearly labeled and each different batch should be identified.  Liquid or semi-solid foods should be placed in sterile plastic bags or sterile jars with screw caps.  Dry, solid foods may be wrapped in aluminum foil or placed in sterile plastic bags.  Approximately 250 grams (about 1/2 pound) of sample should be sent, making sure sampling from the top, center, etc. was performed.  DO NOT TOUCH THE FOOD ITEMS with hands or unclean implements.

All food samples should be placed in a waterproof container and the container placed in an insulated container with refrigerant and sent to OLS via the most rapid method.  DO NOT FREEZE.

Proper documentation of samples is required.  Please complete the Foodborne Outbreak Disease Form for each food product.


The OLS will accept bacteriological cultures for identification and/or serotyping as required by the WV Code 16-3-1; 64 CSR 7.  OLS understands that providers do not have the storage capacity for specific medias required for certain organisms (i.e. Campylobacter).  Please contact the Microbiology Department at extension 2602 if special media is needed.

  1. Criteria for all types of referred cultures
    1. Results of testing performed at provider's laboratory must accompany culture.  These must reflect an attempt to identify the organism(s).
    2. Microbiology Requisition Form must also accompany each culture submitted.
    3. Packaging and Shipping must be in compliance with current regulations.
  2. Criteria for cultures for serotyping
    1. The culture must be pure on a sugar-free agar slant and preferably an 18 to 24 hour old sub when shipped.
    2. The culture must have been identified biochemically before it is submitted to OLS.
    3. Must meet criteria A

Page Last Updated: Sep 01, 2015
Site Last Updated: Oct 23, 2017

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