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Test Code C Ear Ear Culture - External

Biohazard Infectious

Clinical System Name

Ear (external) Culture


Ear Canal

External Ear

Outer Ear


Includes Aerobic Bacterial Culture and Gram Stain. If anaerobic culture is requested a Middle Ear culture should be ordered.

Sample Requirements

SCH Main Campus Specimen collection: Sample should be collected on a BD ESwab.  This swab type is acceptable for both culture and Gram stain.


Off-Site Specimen collection: Samples must be received into the laboratory within 24 hours from collection. Samples collected at off-site locations (where specimen set up will be delayed) should be collected on a BD ESwab which contains Amies transport media..


Container: Swab should be inserted into the tube of Amies Transport media packaged with the ESwabs.


Preferred Vol: N/A

Minimum Vol: N/A


Note: Anaerobic culture is not included in an Ear culture. If anaerobic culture is requested a Middle Ear culture should be ordered.

Processing Instructions

CPA: Send sample swab to Microbiology for processing. 


Off-site collection: BD ESwabs are sent to SCH Microbiology for culture set up. Swabs can be held at room temperature before and during courier transport. The exception to this includes samples received after the second to the last courier of the day. These late in the day samples should be set up and incubated at the Regional Lab to avoid result delay. Any left over ESwab Amies media can be held at room temp and sent with the plates to SCH Micro.



BD ESwab
Temp Time
Room temp 24 hours
Refrigerated OK up to 48 hours
Frozen N



Procedure Performed Turn Around Time (TAT)
Gram Stain 24/7

1 hour

Culture 24/7 48 - 72 hours

Cultures are read at appropriate intervals to detect early bacterial growth. STAT culture requests are not applicable.

Performing Laboratory

Seattle Children's Laboratory



Microbiology Laboratory

CPT Codes



This test is not limited to the CPT codes listed.  Others may be added as more testing is necessary and depending on the pathogens isolated (such as MIC's and ID's)

Reporting Information

Preliminary Report:  18 - 24 hours

Negative Final Report: 48 hours


Notifiable Result

See Link below for Notifiable Conditions for WA state labs:


See Link below for PDF of phone numbers for Local Health jurisdictions (by County) in WA State: