Self-Collected Specimens for Infectious Disease Testing

Fred C. Tenover, Ellen Jo Baron, Charlotte A. Gaydos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Self-collected specimens for infectious disease testing are becoming more commonplace. There are multiple published studies demonstrating that self-collected vaginal swabs for detection of sexually transmitted pathogens are as accurate as physician-collected endocervical swabs. Similarly, self-collected penile-meatal swabs are also acceptable for detecting sexually transmitted pathogens; however, unlike self-collected vaginal swabs, penile-meatal swabs are not considered an “on-label” specimen for U.S. FDA-cleared in vitro diagnostic products. Data on the accuracy of self-collected nasal specimens for respiratory tract infections are encouraging, but studies also show that patients do not always follow instructions when mailing samples back to the laboratory. Unfortunately, there are only a few reports of self-collected specimens for detecting enteric pathogens, such as Salmonella, Shigella, or Campylobacter. Microbiologists need to be proactive in making sure that training materials developed for self-collection (such as laminated cards, videos, and other resources) are accurate and easy to understand (which includes being available in multiple languages) and provide clear instructions on how to handle a specimen once it has been collected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-56
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Microbiology Newsletter
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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