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Isolation and Confirmation of Corynebacterium diphtheriae from a Clinical Specimen

Corynebcterium diphtheriae

  • Laboratory Location – Central Laboratory
  • CPT Code –87077
  • Synonyms – Corynebacterium diphtheriae culture
  • Test Description -Presence or absence of Corynebacterium diphtheriae in a clinical sample
  • NOTE: Submission of a clinical specimen requires prior authorization from the Louisiana OPH Infectious Disease Epidemiology Program for submission to the Central Lab

Possible Results

  • Corynebacterium diphtheriae detected or not detected

Reference Range

  • N/A

Specimen Requirements

  • Specimen Type - Throat or nasopharyngeal swab
  • Specimen Container(s) -Loeffler's transport medium. Specimen must be labeled with patient's full name and the date of collection. The Loeffler's transport medium must be in date and not expired.
  • Minimum volume accepted - One swab in transport medium

Collection Instructions

Collect clinical specimen prior to initiation of antibiotic therapy for greatest chance of isolation of pathogen. Material for culture should be obtained with one of the following types of swab: Dacron, cotton or nasopharyngeal swab (NP). The swab must be placed on Loeffler's transport medium immediately after collection. If membranes are present and can be removed, swab from beneath the membrane. Refrigerate at 2-8°C after collection.

Storage and Transport Instructions

Specimens can be maintained at refrigerated temperatures (2°C to 8°C to protect viability. Do not freeze or ship frozen. Ship specimen overnight to Central Laboratory as soon as possible. The specimen should be received in the State Lab no later than 3 days from the original collection date. 

Causes for Rejection

  • Delayed in transport
  • Not in proper transport medium
  • Specimen arrived frozen
  • Transport medium is past the expiration date
  • The Lab form 93 is missing required information
  • No lab slip received with specimen

Limitations for the Procedure

The colleciton of a clinical specimen should occur prior to the initiation of antibiotic therapy for recovery of suspected microorganism. Colocintes of Corynebacterium diphtheriae maybe overgrown or inhibited by other members of resident flora.

**Submission of a clinical specimen requires prior authorization from the Louisiana OPH Infectious Disease Epidemtiology Program for submission to Central Lab.**

Interfering Substances

  • Antibiotics


  • Manual of Clinical Microbiology 8th edition

Additional Information

Use Lab Form 93 and supply the following information:

  • Patient's Last Name and First Name
  • Patient's Gender
  • Patient's Date of Birth
  • Date and Time of Collection
  • Specimen Source
  • Test Requested (Corynebacterium diphtheriae)
  • Submitter Information

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