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Advanced Diagnostic Laboratories

Smear and Culture (only) of Acid Fast Bacilli

Test Code



This test includes AFB smear and culture from a clinical specimen.  Growth of acid-fast bacilli is reported but full identification is not performed. 

The AFB smear is a direct fluorescent stain from the specimen and can be used to quickly establish the presence of mycobacteria. The AFB culture is the inoculation of a clinical specimen onto multiple media types followed by monitoring for six weeks. Growth of any AFB (i.e. mycobacteria) or partially acid fast organisms (e.g. aerobic actinomycetes) is reported.

This test order is typically a component of other workup algorithms (e.g. AFB1 and AFB3). It is used on its own only in specific circumstances and after discussion with the laboratory.