Swabbing guidelines

Swabs are not taken by phlebotomy staff at Northland Pathology collection centres. However, certain swab types can be self-collected. Appropriate swabs for self-collection include:

  • vaginal swabs (both Aptima swabs for molecular STI testing and standard orange top ‘bacterial’ swabs),
  • vaginal-rectal swabs for Group B Streptococcus screening, and
  • MRSA screening swabs.

Swabs from wounds, eyes, and ears should not be self-collected as site preparation and sampling are important for generating valid results.

Where self-collection (from an appropriate site) is desired, supply the patient with the appropriate swab(s) and biohazard bag, advise them to collect at home, then deliver the swab(s) to a collection centre. Swabs can be ordered from our website here and are available at the collection centres. However, it is preferred that patients do not collect specimens on site due to limited appropriate facilities.

Dr Matthew Blakiston
Microbiology Pathologist