Microbiology samples should, if possible, be taken prior to commencement of antimicrobial therapy. In severe infections, broad spectrum antimicrobials should be started without awaiting results. Sampling sites include those suspected clinically of harbouring infection or, if a specific site cannot be identified clinically, blood, urine and sputum samples. In severe infection, indwelling intravascular catheters should be replaced and the catheter tips sent for culture. Samples should be sent to the laboratory promptly to allow early incubation and to prevent potentially misleading growth. Swabs must be sent in the appropriate transport media.

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