Vaginal swab: Normal vaginal flora – No yeast isolated – Shipped 10 August 2015


A simulated vaginal swab collected from a 35 year old outpatient with history of recurrent yeast infection and treatment failure was sent to category A and B laboratories; the requisition asked for culture to be done.

Participants were expected to report the absence of yeast in the sample and the presence of normal vaginal flora.


  1. Laboratory Technologists should be able to recognize Lactobacillus species as normal flora in a vaginal swab and not be performing identification tests on it. It was evident through these results that automated identification methods have trouble accurately identifying Lactobacillus species.
  2. Candida albicans remains the dominant organism responsible for recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis (RVVC). In situations where it may be suspected, its absence should be indicated to inform the clinician’s diagnostic decision-making process.

Full critique (PDF)

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