Contact Information
Los Angeles County
Department of Public Health
Public Health Laboratory
12750 Erickson Avenue
Downey, California 90242

Laboratory Director
Nicole M. Green, Ph.D, D (ABMM)

Phone: (562) 658-1300
Fax: (562) 401-5999

Monday - Friday
8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
8:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Public Health Laboratory - Acid-Fast Bacilli Culture, Smear & Identification of Isolate

Culture & Smear:

  • The Public Health Laboratory will process specimens for culture and smear. Acceptable specimens: Respiratory secretions (sputum, bronchial washing, transtracheal aspirates, bronchoalveolar lavage, bronchial brushings), urine, stool, CSF, body fluids, whole blood and tissue biopsies. Swab specimens are not recommended. All acid-fast isolates will be identified. Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates will have a basic susceptibility panel performed on the original isolate and at four month intervals or earlier if isolated on subsequent specimens.
  • Collect in a sterile, leak-proof container. The laboratory supplies a 50 ml conical centrifuge tube.
  • Collect a minimum of 3 to 5 early morning sputum or urine specimens in successive 24 hour periods.
  • Place tissue and needle biopsies in 50 ml conical tube.
  • SPS (yellow top VacutainerŪ) is acceptable for whole blood culture collection.
  • Send all specimens to the laboratory within 24 hours of collection.
  • Ship all specimens except blood on cold pack.
  • Ship whole blood specimens at room temperature.
  • Gastric lavage: Phone laboratory for container or neutralize with 100 mg of sodium carbonate immediately following collection.

Preparation of Isolate for Identification and/or Susceptibility

  • Culture on L-J agar slant within a glass screw-cap tube. Wrap ParafilmŪ around the screw cap and wrap tube with absorbent material to prevent breakage. Place culture tube in the supplied metal screw cap tube and place the metal tube in the cardboard outer container.
  • Take properly packaged culture container to the nearest Los Angeles County Health Center for transport to the Public Health Laboratory or transport directly to the Public Health Laboratory.

Susceptibility Panels

  • Basic Panel: Radiometric Ethambutol (EMB), Isoniazid (INH), Rifampin (RIF), Streptomycin (SM)
  • Pyrazinamide (PZA) only
  • Custom Panel: Radiometric
    Any combination of: Amikacin, Capreomycin, Ciprofloxacin, Ofloxacin, Ethambutol, Ethionamide, Isoniazid (INH), Kanamycin, Rifampin, Streptomycin
  • Custom Panel: Agar Disk
    Any combination of: Amikacin, Ciprofloxacin, Clarithromycin, Cycloserine, Ethambutol, Ethionamide, Isoniazid (INH), Kanamycin, Ofloxacin, Rifampin, Streptomycin, p-Aminosalicylic Acid (PAS)

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