Table 5

Guide to reporting positive urine cultures

CountNo. of isolatesSpecimen typeSensitivity requiredComments
cfu, colony forming units; CSU, catheter specimens of urine; MSU, midstream specimens of urine; WCC, white blood cell count.
>105 cfu/ml1 or 2MSUYesReport with sensitivities
CSUYesReport organism, suppress sensitivities unless appropriate clinical details, CSU comment
>2MSU and CSUNoReport as contaminated specimen—repeat if clinically indicated
104–105 cfu/ml1–2 (not skin flora)MSU and CSUNoReport as “no significant growth”, unless the patient is immunocompromised, on relevant antibiotics, or has raised WCC (>50)
1–2 (skin flora)NoNo significant growth
>2NoNo significant growth
<104 cfu/mlAnyMSU and CSUNoIf ≥ 100 WCC and no antibiotics stated or detected consider culture for fastidious organisms, etc
1–2YesImmunocompromised or MSU and clear evidence of symptoms (lower limits of 102 cfu/ml for women with the urethral syndrome and 103 cfu/ml for men)