Skip to Content
UW Health SMPH
American Family Children's Hospital

UW Hospital and Clinics Lab Test Directory

Test Name: Diphtheria Culture

Test Code(s): MISC / RMISC

CPT Code(s): 87081

Test Description: Test Component:

Culture for Corynebacterium diphtheriae.  An In Vitro toxin assay is performed on all isolates.

Methodology: Culture, In vitro Toxin Assay on isolates

Clinical Significance: Used to rule out C. diphtheriae as causative agent of infection.

Testing Site: Testing will be sent to an approved reference laboratory.

Days Performed: Mon-Fri.

Turnaround Time: Routine: 3 - 5 days.

Specimen Requirements

Collection Instructions: Obtain Diphtheria culture kit from UWHC Core Lab, 263-7060.
1. Using the wooden swab, obtain a throat culture from throat lesions and tonsillar crypts. Rub and rotate the swab over the Pai slant and then immerse the swab in the WSLH Transport Medium. Break off excess portion of wooden shaft. Leave swab in WSLH Transport Medium. TIGHTEN CAPS.

2. Pass the wire swab through one nostril and into the nasopharynx. Rotate gently. Allow swab to remain in nasopharynx 30 seconds for organisms to be absorbed onto swab. Inoculate media as described above. Bend wire shaft so it fits entirely in the tube of WSLH Transport Medium.

3. Tighten caps securely; tape shut. Print patient name, date of collection, and specimen source (site) on each label.

Specimen Processing: Refrigerate specimen until transported to Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene.

Specimen Transport: Transport specimen to UWHC Core Laboratory (B4/220). Transport with coolant pack if coming from outreach location.


Expected Results:

Negative for C. diphtheriae

Test Limitations:

Test will detect C. diphtheriae only.  Group A Streptococcus, yeast and Staphylococcus aureus should be ruled out separately.

Additional Information:

24 hour preliminary report, if suspicious; final report 3-4 days.

Corynebacterium diphtheriae

Back to Lab Test Directory Index