Culture, Corynebacterium diphtheria  

IMPORTANT! Pre-approval needed from state or local health department. Local or State Health Department. Send approval to or call (402) 559-9444.

NPHL has moved to an electronic ordering system, NUlirt, and it is now the preferred method to order all tests. Once ordered, print a "batch list" (see NUlirt Guide).

Forms Required - Nulirt batch list or NPHL Test Request Form (completed in entirety) must accompany the specimen to include the following information: symptoms and date of onset, pregnancy status, travel and vaccine history. Testing will not be performed without all required information.

Please call NPHL Client Services at (402) 559-2440 or toll free at (800) 334-0459 for further clarification.


Test: Culture, Corynebacterium diphtheriae 
Order in NUlirt or complete NPHL Test Order Form  
Synonym:  Diphtheria, Corynebacterium spp  
Method: Standard reference procedure for C. diphtheriae culture and identification.  
Availability: Test performed Daily. Turn-around-time 72h  
Specimen: Swab of nasopharynx plus throat at site of membrane is preferred specimen.
A swab of nasopharynx plus throat at the site of membrane or inflammation site. Swab the base of cleansed wound.   
Collection Device: Use culturette swab with Stuart's or Amies medium. 
Note: Transport to lab within 24 hours of collection.
Specimen Labeling: Test subject to CLIA regulations and requires 2 patient identifiers and specimen source on container.  

Prior to Shipment & Transport: Ambient 15-25°C

Shipping instructions, including specimen-handling requirements during transport:  Seal screw-top tubes with Parafilm™ or tape and place in biohazard bag with absorbent material.
Place specimen inside leak proof secondary container (biohazard bag and if transporting by air, use Tyvek™ Envelope) with adsorbent material. The secondary container must be packed inside an approved Category B shipping container.  Position NUlirt packing list or NPHL Test Order form between secondary container and box lid. Seal with tape.  Label outer box as UN3373 Category B, Biological Substance. Transport by NPHL ground courier. If courier not available, ship by FedEx, UPS, or USPS (1st Class, Priority or Express Mail). Follow appropriate DOT/IATA Regulation Guidelines.  For assistance, call NPHL State Training Coordinator at (402) 559-3590.
See instructions and shipping address:

NUlirt packing list or appropriate paperwork (completed in entirety) must accompany specimens.

Unacceptable: Delay of transport. Refrigerate or frozen specimens  
Specimen Stability: Stable at Ambient 15-25°C  
Reference Interval: Negative for Corynebacterium diphtheriae  
Reportable Disease: Report positive Corynebacterium diphtheriae results immediately to local or state health department. Refer to Nebraska DHHS Title 173, Communicable Diseases.  
Comments: Pre-approval needed from state or local health department.  Send approval to or call (402) 559-9444.  
Revised: 6/14/2021 
If you have questions about proper specimen collection, please call NPHL Client Services at (402) 559-2440 or toll free at (800) 334-0459.