A method of processing clinical specimens received at the laboratory on cotton wool swabs is described. The method uses a range of selective culture media to assist in the isolation of potential pathogens from mixed cultures. Because the culture media are distributed in 2 millilitre volumes in the small squares of divided plastic petri dishes it is economically possible to use the same series for every specimen. This facilitates the rapid processing of large numbers of swabs and allows the isolation of pathogens from sites where they might otherwise go unnoticed.
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