What is the result of a poor-quality specimen for the diagnosis of Enterobacter infections?

Updated: Jun 18, 2019
  • Author: Susan L Fraser, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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A poor-quality specimen should not be cultured because the identification of organisms that colonize the oropharynx is not helpful for the management of the infection and can cause confusion regarding the cause of the pneumonia. With a lower respiratory tract infection, a significant number of organisms (gram-negative bacilli) should be visible after direct staining. The threshold of optical detection of these bacteria is approximately 105 bacteria/mL. A positive culture result with a negative Gram stain result likely represents colonization rather than infection, at least in untreated patients.

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