Fungal specimens unlike other specimens encountered in the clinical microbiology laboratory are collected most often without necessarily asking the patient to do it. Adequate precautions are also observed because of the ease with which fungal elements can be easily aerosolized.
Some of the specimens and how they are collected are as follows:
- Cover your face with face mask and put on hand gloves before proceeding with the collection.
- Cleanse the affected area with 70% ethanol.
- Collect skin scales, crusts, pieces of nails or hairs on a clean white piece of paper that is about 5 cm square.
- Skin scales: Collect skin scales by scraping the surface of the margin of the lesion using a sterile scalpel blade. Make sure not to bleed the patient.
- Crusts: Crusts are collected by removing part of the crust nearest to healthy skin using sterile scissors and tweezers.
- Nail pieces: Nail pieces are collected by a procedure called nail clipping. Sniping of the infected part of the nail are collected using sterile scalpel blade or scissors. Collect sniping from beneath the nail in cases where the nail is thickened.
- Hairs: Hairs are collected by removing dull broken hairs from the margin of the lesion using a sterile tweezers or by scraping the scalp of the head with a scalpel blade.
- Finally, fold the paper onto which the specimen was scraped or collected, in order to enclose the specimen and protect it from dispersal. Label the paper with the patient’s data and proceed for mycological investigation.
Note: In the collection of clinical specimens for fungal investigation, it is very important to avoid any form of bleeding so that the specimen is not contaminated with blood. Wash hands with detergents immediately after the collection process. Also, the patient is informed to refrain from any sort of medication 3 days prior to collection of the specimen.