Updated Review of Blood Culture Contamination

Hall and Lyman
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2006 Oct; 19(4): 788–802.
University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, Virginia

  • Rates vary widely from 0.6% to over 6%.
  • Rates have been on the increase.
  • Not everyone follows the recommendation of having two samples.
  • Positive predictive value goes up if two of two blood cultures were positive and both taken from the vein.
  • Skin antisepsis cannot entirely prevent the contamination of blood cultures

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