Types of bacteria that commonly cause infection
in wounds are staph (Staphylococcus), strep (Streptococcus),
and Clostridium perfringens, a bacterium found in soil
and in stool (feces) that can cause
gangrene. The most common type of fungus that causes
infection in wounds is Candida albicans.
Looking at fluid (such as pus) from a wound under
a microscope can sometimes help identify the type of bacteria or fungi causing
the infection before culture results are ready.
A culture that does
not grow any bacteria may not mean that you do not have an infection. Sometimes
the amount of sample collected, the age of the wound (or skin problem), the
type of culture done, and previous use of antibiotics can prevent the growth of
bacteria in the culture.
Testing for a virus may be done to detect
and identify a viral infection in the body that is causing symptoms. To learn more, see the topic
Most types of fungi grow very
slowly and may not show up in a culture for several weeks. Your doctor may
recommend that you start treatment before your culture results come back if he
or she thinks you could have a fungal infection.
testing helps your doctor choose the best medicine to treat specific types of
bacteria, viruses, or fungus.
Other Works Consulted
Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis:
Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009).
Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed.
Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.
Primary Medical Reviewer
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease