TB Sputum Microscopy - The Handbook

TB Sputum Microscopy - The Handbook
Laboratory Diagnosis
of Tuberculosis by
Sputum Microscopy
The handbook
Global edition
A publication of the Global Laboratory Initiative
a Working Group of the StopTB Partnership
global laboratory initiative
advancing TB diagnosis
Published by
SA Pathology
Frome Road
Adelaide
South Australia 5000
www.sapathology.sa.gov.au
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted
in any form or by any means without the written permission of the publisher.
The authors assert their moral rights in the work.
ISBN (TBA)
Production
Project Editor
Mark Fitz-Gerald
Technical Editors
Pawan Angra (CDC), Valentina Anisimova (KNCV),
Christopher Gilpin (WHO), Richard Lumb (SA Pathology),
Hiroko Matsumoto (JATA), Armand Van Deun (IUATLD)
Manuscript Editors
Mark Fitz-Gerald, Richard Lumb
Illustrations
Kerry Reid
Design
Sue Dyer Design
Contact
[email protected]
© 2013 SA Pathology (formerly IMVS)
Laboratory Diagnosis
of Tuberculosis by
Sputum Microscopy
Richard Lumb
Armand Van Deun
Ivan Bastian
Mark Fitz-Gerald
The handbook
Global edition
Laboratory Diagnosis
of Tuberculosis by
Sputum Microscopy
Acknowledgements
The writing team wish to thank the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International
Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD) for recognizing that smear
microscopy remains an important tool for the laboratory diagnosis of tuberculosis and in
monitoring patients’ response to treatment.
The Global Health Bureau, Office of Health, Infectious Disease and Nutrition (HIDN),
US Agency for International Development, financially supports the development of
The Handbook: Laboratory diagnosis of tuberculosis by sputum microscopy through TB
CARE I under the terms of Agreement No. AID-OAA-A-10-00020. This publication was
made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United
States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility
of TB CARE I and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States
Government.
SA Pathology (formerly IMVS Pathology) is thanked for enabling the Tanzanian edition of
The Handbook to be used as the template for the Global Laboratory Initiative (GLI) edition
of The Handbook. GLI is a working group of the Stop TB Partnership.
Thanks go also to illustrator Kerry Reid and Sue Dyer Design for their long-standing
contributions to earlier editions of The Handbook, and their enthusiastic and very
professional inputs.
As we remarked in the first edition of The Handbook, it remains our sincere hope that
the intended users of The Handbook, the technicians at the forefront of the international
effort to contain and overcome TB, will find it useful in their daily laboratory work.
The handbook
Global edition
Contents
Page
Foreword
4
Introduction Symbols and warnings
Personal safety
6
7
8
Sputum collection
10
Two specimens 10
Hospital patients
10
Safe collection
10
Pre-collection patient advice
11
How to collect a specimen
12
Specimen quality
12
Rejection criteria
12
Registration13
Storage and transport
14
Smear preparation
18
What you need
18
Making a smear
19
Microscopy
Method Brightfield
22
A
Microscopy
Method Fluorescence
50
B
Microscopy
Appendices68
Specimen containers
68
Documentation
69
Abbreviations
72
Biosafety
73
Quality assurance
79
References
83
Patient information
84
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Page 3
Foreword
In 2011, there were an estimated 8.7 million new
cases of tuberculosis (13% coinfected with HIV).
1.4 million people died from the disease, including
almost one million deaths among HIV-negative
individuals and 430,000 among people who were HIVpositive. 5.8 million (67%) of these newly diagnosed
cases were notified to national TB control programmes
and reported to the World Health Organization.
Among the 4.5 million new cases with pulmonary
TB, 2.6 million (56%) had sputum smear-positive TB,
and another 1.9 million were smear-negative*.
In many countries, sputum smear microscopy remains the primary tool
for the laboratory diagnosis of tuberculosis. It requires simple laboratory
facilities, and when performed correctly, has a role in rapidly identifying
infectious cases. It has been shown conclusively that good-quality
microscopy of two consecutive sputum specimens will identify the vast
majority (95–98%) of smear-positive TB patients**. Moreover, microscopy
can be decentralised to peripheral laboratories.
Despite its advantages sputum smear microscopy does fall short in test
sensitivity, especially for certain patient groups such as those living
with HIV/AIDS, and also in the laboratory diagnosis of childhood and
extrapulmonary disease. New diagnostic tools endorsed by WHO (such
as liquid culture, line probe assay, Xpert MTB/RIF) overcome many of the
limitations of smear microscopy, especially for patients living with HIV/AIDS
and those with a high likelihood of having drug-resistant TB.
WHO and the IUATLD have previously published guidelines for sputum
smear microscopy. In the decade since publication, many developments
have occurred and a revised and updated text replacing both is timely.
The Handbook is a practical guide for the laboratory technician; it draws on
the ideas outlined above and references best practice documents released
by WHO and the GLI. The Handbook uses simple text and clear illustrations
to assist laboratory staff in understanding the important issues involved in
conducting sputum smear microscopy for the diagnosis of TB.
*WHO Global tuberculosis report 2012 WHO/HTM/TB/2012.6
**WHO Same-day diagnosis of tuberculosis by microscopy 2011. WHO/HTM/TB/2011.7
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Page 5
Introduction
The purpose of The Handbook is to teach laboratory technicians how to safely collect,
process and examine sputum specimens for the laboratory diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB).
Sputum microscopy
Sputum smear microscopy is one of the most efficient tools for identifying people
with infectious TB.
Smear-positive patients are up to ten times more likely to be infectious than are
smear-negative patients.
The purpose of sputum microscopy is to:
• Diagnose people with infectious TB
• Monitor the progress of treatment
• Confirm that cure has been achieved
Consistent and accurate laboratory practice helps to save lives and improves public
health.
Risk of infection
Where good laboratory practices are used, risk of infection to laboratory technicians
is very low during smear preparation.
A higher risk of infection exists when collecting sputum specimens from patients.
Doctors and nurses working in TB wards and clinics where aerosols are generated have
a much higher risk of becoming infected with TB.
Personal safety
When performed correctly sputum examination will not place laboratory technicians
at increased risk of developing TB.
Page 6 Introduction
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Symbols and warnings
Failure to follow these instructions may harm your health or cause
immediate damage to equipment
Failure to follow these instructions may affect test results, or cause
equipment damage over time
P
7
Correct – the preferred way to do something
Do not do this
Wear gloves for this procedure
Wear a laboratory coat for this procedure
Wash your hands
This substance is toxic
This substance is corrosive
This substance is infectious
This substance is flammable
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Symbols and warnings Page 7
Personal Safety
Risks and transmission
TB is an infectious disease. Transmission occurs when small aerosols containing acidfast bacilli (AFB) become airborne and are inhaled. When a person coughs, sneezes,
sings or vigorously exhales they produce aerosols that could be infectious if the person
has pulmonary TB.
Tuberculosis (TB)
Properly trained technicians, when working correctly, have a very low risk of
infection in a TB laboratory. However some activities such as talking to infected
patients and collecting specimens can carry a greater risk.
Assume all specimens are infectious. Do not shake or stir samples, aerosols
may be generated
Specimens may contain pathogens other than TB. When working in the
laboratory do not:
• Put anything in your mouth (e.g. a pen, your fingers etc.)
• Eat, drink or smoke
• Pipette by mouth
• Lick labels and envelopes etc.
• Apply cosmetics or handle contact lenses
• Store food or drinks in the laboratory
•Wear open-toed footwear or bare feet
•Use mobile telephones in the laboratory
Personal protective equipment (PPE)
Laboratory staff must be supplied with PPE that is appropriate for the microscopy
laboratory.
•You must wear protective clothing at all times in the laboratory
•You must wear gloves when handling specimens
• Do not take PPE out of the laboratory
• Store PPE separately from personal clothing
Page 8 Personal Safety
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Personal Safety
Gloves
Wear gloves for all procedures that may involve direct or accidental contact with
sputum, blood, body fluids and other potentially infectious materials.
• After use, remove gloves and discard into the biohazard waste bin
• Wash your hands:
– Immediately if contaminated by a sample
– When you finish work
– Before leaving the laboratory
Coats
A good laboratory coat protects your skin and clothing. It has long sleeves and fastens
in the front. The laboratory is responsible for supplying and cleaning laboratory coats.
Masks
7
Surgical masks are not designed to protect the wearer, they are designed to stop
the wearer spreading aerosols. Respirators are not required for performing sputum
smear microscopy.
Aerosols
Good work practice minimises aerosol formation and contamination of work surfaces
and equipment.
• Separate ‘clean’ activities (administration, microscopy) from ‘dirty’ activities
(specimen reception, smear preparation, staining)
• Never shake a sputum specimen
• Carefully open specimen containers, the sample may have collected around
the thread of the container
• Spread the sample onto the slide gently in a regular motion
• Always air dry smears before heat fixing
• Use disposable wooden applicator sticks or transfer loops for making smears
• Always manage laboratory waste correctly
Ventilation
Open doors and windows help reduce the risk of infection (see page 73 Biosafety).
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Personal Safety Page 9
Sputum collection
Two specimens
Where External Quality Assessment (EQA) is well established, and staff are limited, two
sputum specimens are recommended for the laboratory diagnosis of TB.
Specimen 1
• Collect the first specimen when the patient presents to the clinic
• Give the patient a labelled sputum container for the next morning’s sputum collection
Specimen 2
• Patient collects early morning sputum and takes it to the clinic
Alternatively, microscopy of two consecutive sputum specimens, collected on the same
day, may be performed.
Hospital patients
If the patient is in hospital, it is better to collect a sputum specimen each morning on two
consecutive days.
Safe collection
Transmission of TB occurs because infectious droplets are released into the air
when an infected patient coughs.
Collect specimens outside so that infectious droplets are diluted in an open,
well-ventilated area
P
7
Page 10 Sputum collection
To reduce the possibility of laboratory staff becoming infected:
• Tell the patient to cover their mouth when coughing
• Collect sputum outside the laboratory, preferably outside the building and
well away from other people
Do not collect sputum specimens in closed spaces like:
• Laboratories or wards
• Toilet cubicles
• Waiting rooms
• Reception rooms
• Any poorly ventilated area
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Sputum collection
Pre-collection and patient advice
Request for examination of biological specimen for TB
Treatment Unit: __________________________________
Date of request:__________________
Patient name: _____________________________________________________________________
Age (years): ______ Date of Birth: ___________________ Sex:
Male
Female
Patient address:____________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________ Telephone: ______________________
Reason for examination:
Diagnosis. If diagnosis, presumptive RR-TB/MDR-TB?:
OR
Yes
No
Follow-up. If follow-up, month of treatment: ______
HIV infection?:
Yes
No
Unknown
Previously treated for TB?:
Yes
No
Unknown
Specimen type:
Sputum
Other (specify):___________________________
Test(s) requested:
Microscopy
Culture
Xpert MTB/RIF
Drug susceptibility
P
Diagnosis
or
Follow up
Line Probe Assay
Name and signature of requestor: _____________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
Microscopy results (to be completed in the laboratory)
Date sample Specimen Laboratory Visual appearance
Result (check one)
(blood-stained,
collected
type
serial
+
+++
++
number(s) mucopurulent or Negative 1-9 /
(filled by
100HPF
saliva)
(0 AFB /
(10-99
(1-10 AFB (>10 AFB
requestor)
/ HPF)
100HPF) (scanty; AFB /
100HPF)
report
number of
AFB)
/ HPF)
Examined by (Name and signature): _________________________________________________
Date of result: _______________________________________
•Check the Laboratory Request Form
•Fill in any missing details
•Tick Diagnosis or Follow-up
12
Patient advice
Label the container, never the lid.
P
7
If dentures are present,
remove them and rinse
mouth with bottled water.
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Tell the patient the best
specimen comes from
the lungs.
Saliva or nasal secretions
are unsuitable.
Sputum collection Page 11
Sputum collection
How to collect a specimen
Patient Information
page 84
7
P
Do not stand in front of the patient during collection
Instruct the patient to:
1. Relax, take time
2. Inhale deeply 2 to 3 times, breathe out hard each time
3. Cough deeply from the chest
4. Place the open container close to the mouth to collect the sputum
5. After collection screw the lid on tightly
Several attempts may be necessary to obtain a good quality specimen.
Specimen quality
P
P
P
7
Good quality specimen
Mucoid
Good quality specimen
Purulent
Good quality specimen
Blood stained
Poor quality specimens
are thin and watery
or composed largely
of bubbles
Keep the best sample
Rejection criteria
Repeat collection in the following cases:
• Broken or leaking specimen containers
• Specimen container details do not match the Laboratory Request Form
• The specimen has been collected into a fixative (e.g. formalin)
• Container unlabelled
• The specimen has been collected into tissue paper
Page 12 Sputum collection
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Sputum collection
Registration
Register the specimen before processing
1
3
4
Lab.
serial
No.
757/1
Date
specimen
1
received
Patient
name
Sex
M/F
TB Laboratory Register for smear and Xpert MTB/RIF
Age
Date
of
birth
Patient
address
Treatment
unit
BMU
and TB
Register
No.
HIV
infection
(Y/ N/
Unk) 2
Patient
previously
treated for
TB3
Examination type
(Tick one option)
DiagFollow-up
nosis
4
Month
5
Xpert
Date
Examination results
6
Smear microscopy
1
2
3
Date
Date
Remarks7
Date
Request for examination of biological specimen for TB
Treatment Unit: __________________________________
Date of request:__________________
Patient name: _____________________________________________________________________
Age (years): ______ Date of Birth: ___________________ Sex:
Male
Female
Patient address:____________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________ Telephone: ______________________
Reason for examination:
Diagnosis. If diagnosis, presumptive RR-TB/MDR-TB?:
OR
HIV infection?:
Yes
No
Follow-up. If follow-up, month of treatment: ______
Yes
No
1 For diagnostic testing employing serial sputa or other specimens this is the date of receipt of the first set of specimens
2 Y=Yes; N=No; Unk = unknown
3 Y = previously treated; N = not previously treated, Unk = unknown
4 Patient on TB treatment; indicate months of treatment at which follow-up examination is performed
5 Xpert MTB/RIF test result reported as follows :
T = MTB detected, rif resistance not detected;
RR = MTB detected, rif resistance detected;
TI = MTB detected, rif resistance indeterminate
N = MTB not detected;
I = Invalid / no result / error
6 Smear results reported as follows:
0=No AFB;
Scanty (and report number of AFB) = 1-9 AFB per 100HPF;
+ = 10-99 AFB per 100 HPF;
++ = 1-10 AFB per HPF;
+++ = > 10 AFB per HPF
Unknown
Previously treated for TB?:
Yes
Specimen type:
Sputum
Other (specify):___________________________
Test(s) requested:
Microscopy
Culture
Xpert MTB/RIF
Drug susceptibility
No
2
Unknown
7 If Xpert MTB/RIF indeterminate result, indicate error code or 'invalid'
Line Probe Assay
Name and signature of requestor: _____________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
Microscopy results (to be completed in the laboratory)
26
Laboratory Register
Date sample Specimen Laboratory Visual appearance
Result (check one)
collected
type
serial
(blood-stained,
+
+++
++
number(s) mucopurulent or Negative 1-9 /
(filled by
100HPF
saliva)
(0 AFB /
(10-99
(1-10 AFB (>10 AFB
requestor)
100HPF) (scanty; AFB /
/ HPF)
100HPF)
report
number of
AFB)
/ HPF)
Examined by (Name and signature): _________________________________________________
Date of result: _______________________________________
Laboratory Request Form
12
1.Check patient details on the container match the Laboratory Request Form
2.Transfer patient details from the Laboratory Request Form to the Laboratory Register. For follow-up specimens copy the Patient District Number to the appropriate column
of the register
3. Write the Laboratory Number (LN) on the side of the specimen container
4. Write the LN on the Laboratory Request Form
For each patient, use the same LN and the numbers 1 and 2 to identify the:
• First specimen (1)
• Second specimen (2)
Saliva specimens must be reported on the Laboratory Request Form.
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Sputum collection Page 13
Sputum collection
Specimen storage and transport
Where AFB microscopy or molecular testing for TB are not available and the patient cannot
be referred, appropriate specimen storage and transport is required.
Storage
Specimen storage and transport
To preserve specimen quality:
• If microscopy or molecular testing only is requested refrigeration is not required
• Store specimens to be cultured in a refrigerator or keep as cool as possible –Do not freeze
Page 14 Sputum collection
What you need
• Permanent marker to write details on the side of the container
• Plastic bag for each specimen
• Transport box
• Master List of specimens
• Laboratory Request Forms
Approved secondary packaging (transport box) must:
• Be leak proof and strong
• Contain absorbent material, bench roll etc.
• Keep Laboratory Request Forms separate from sputum specimens
• Be kept out of sunlight
Packing checklist
Is the sputum container clearly labelled with:
• Patient name
• Date of collection
• Specimen number (1 or 2)
Always label the container never the lid (see page 11).
• Are Laboratory Request Forms completed correctly?
• Are Laboratory Request Forms packed separately from specimens?
Prepare a Master List that contains the details for each specimen being transported.
Ensure the Master List contains the name and address of the laboratory
sending the specimens.
Check that the number of specimens equals that on the Master List.
Transport
• Follow local regulations for specimen transport
• Whilst delays, even in hot weather, will not affect test results, you should send
packed specimens as soon as possible
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Specimen storage and transport
Sputum collection
Packing specimens
Put several layers of absorbent paper in the bottom of the shipping container.
1
2
P
P
P
3
5
7
4
6
Keep upright
8
Absorbent paper
Packing
material
1. Check each specimen container is labelled with
– Patient name
– Date
– Specimen number (1 or 2)
2. Cross check specimens against Laboratory Request Form
– Wrap each container in a separate plastic bag
3. Seal each container in a separate plastic bag
4. Put sealed bags into the shipping container
5. Put Laboratory Request Forms and Master List into a separate sealed bag
6. Pack shipping container to prevent movement
7. Add sealed bag containing the forms
8. Seal and address the shipping container
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Keep cool
Store upright
Deliver urgently
Sputum collection Page 15
Sputum collection
Specimen storage and transport
• For Satellite health centres preparing sputum smears:
– Sputum smears must be prepared as soon as possible after collection
– Smears are easier and safer to transport than specimens
– Couriers bring sputum smears to the Microscopy Centre for examination, and return the results
Specimen storage and transport
– Avoid once-weekly courier collections because they will result in unacceptable delays
Page 16 Sputum collection
• Ensure each smear is clearly labelled and has a completed Specimen Request Form
• Keep in a slide box away from light, heat, dust, humidity, and insects
• The courier will bring the slide box and the Specimen Request Forms
• The courier should bring back an empty slide box from the Microscopy Centre
• Seal the slide box so that smears cannot fall out or break during transit
OR
• If a slide box is unavailable wrap each slide in toilet paper
• To prevent breakage put at least five slides in each bundle. Use unused slides
if required
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Specimen storage and transport
Sputum collection
Add the first slide
And roll twice
Add one slide at a time
Until all slides are wrapped
Use a rubber band or tape to prevent unrolling
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Sputum collection Page 17
Smear preparation
What you need
Sputum smears must be prepared promptly after collection or receipt.
To effectively prepare smears, you will need:
A dedicated solid bench with a non-absorbent surface that can be disinfected.
Handle slides by
edges only
New, clean glass slides
Discard bucket with
plastic liner
Alcohol/sand trap for
cleaning loops
Bamboo/wooden applicator sticks or wire loop
Spirit lamp
Staining rack for drying smears
Never reuse sputum smear slides
Applicator stick
Bamboo/disposable applicator sticks are best because they:
• Separate purulent material from saliva faster
• Pick up more sputum
• Are faster, safer
• Are disposable, single use
Wire loops
Some technicians prefer wire loops because they can be reused however they:
• Are more time consuming
• May collect a smaller sample volume
• Are less efficient, must be flamed and cooled between samples
Page 18 Smear preparation
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Smear preparation
Making a smear
Never put more than one sputum specimen on each slide
1
LN Spot
Writing
this way
is OK
Write the LN and 1 or 2 identifier on the
frosted end of each slide using a pencil
For non frosted slides use
a diamond pen or stylus
Aerosols may be generated
Do not mix purulent/bloodstained portions with saliva/mucous
2
B
B
A
Sputum specimen with purulent (A) portions within saliva (B)
More AFB will be found
in the purulent portions
of a specimen.
A
Ziehl-Neelsen stained smear – purulent
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
A
Select only purulent or
bloodstained portions
of sputum
B
Ziehl-Neelsen stained smear – saliva
Smear preparation Page 19
Smear preparation
Making a smear
Older sputum specimens still give excellent results for microscopy.
3
4
P
7
1cm
2cm
Smear the specimen in the centre of the slide, covering
2cm by 1cm
Discard the applicator
stick into discard
container after use, do
not flame, do not reuse
Use a new clean applicator stick for each specimen
56
6
Retain all specimens until
results are reported
To clean a wire loop
• Insert loop in sand trap and rotate
• Flame the loop to red-hot and allow to cool
Remove gloves and wash your hands after preparing smears
Page 20 Smear preparation
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Making a smear
Smear preparation
8
7
Air dry smears on a slide rack or flat surface
9
When dry, heat fix the
smears:
•ensure the smear is facing upwards
• pass 3 times through the flame of a spirit lamp
P
Overheating will
damage the bacilli
Correctly prepared smear
Stained smears resulting from poor smear preparation
Too thick/too big
Too thin
Not centred and
too small
Multiples/confusing
label
7
7
7
7
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Smear preparation Page 21
Method Brightfield
A
Microscopy
Page
Staining
What you need
The Ziehl-Neelsen method
Examination
Reading smears
Appearance of acid-fast bacilli
24
24
26
28
28
30
How to report
31
31
Summary
32
Reporting
False-negatives
– Consequences
– Prevention
False-positives
– Consequences
– Prevention
Ziehl-Neelsen reagent preparation
33
The microscope
35
42
42
– Staining
44
– Microscopy
Trouble-shooting
Introduction
Brightfield Method
A
Microscopy
Brightfield sputum smear microscopy requires simple laboratory facilities
and is a much cheaper alternative to the complex and costly process of TB
culture. However, to be effective staff must be trained, follow correct standard
operating procedures, be provided with good quality equipment, consumables
and reagents, and be part of a Quality Assured network of laboratories.
The Ziehl-Neelsen (ZN) technique has been the primary diagnostic technique
for over 100 years. It is easier to learn to recognise ZN stained AFB compared
with fluorescence microscopy. The detection of one AFB in a smear is sufficient
to declare a positive result.
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Introduction Page 23
Method Brightfield
A
Microscopy
Staining What you need
To stain smears using the Ziehl-Neelsen method you will need:
Staining rack to support slides over sink or bucket
Burning stick
Forceps
Slide rack for drying stained slides
Water
Timer
Staining bottle
Page 24 Staining
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Staining What you need
Brightfield Method
A
Microscopy
Stain
Decolouriser
Counterstain
1% carbol fuchsin
25% H2S04
0.1% methylene blue
You will require 2 – 3 volumes of decolouriser for each volume of stain
How to fold a filter
1
2
3
2
3
How to make a burning stick
1
Cotton wool
Roll onto wire
Dip into alcohol
Light
Piece of wire
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Staining Page 25
Method Brightfield
A
Microscopy
Staining The Ziehl-Neelsen method
1
Filter during use
Place the slides smear upwards, in LN order,
on a staining rack over the sink or bucket, about
a finger-width apart
2
Ensure the slides are level
3
Begin at the edges, cover each slide completely
with carbol fuchsin
4
•Heat each slide from below until steam
rises, always keep the flame moving
•Stop heating when steam rises
Leave the heated stain on the slides –
minimum 10 minutes
A longer time will improve staining, provided
the stain does not dry on the slide
Do not boil
5
• Gently rinse each slide with water
• Tilt each slide to drain off excess water
Page 26 Staining
6
Do not splash adjacent slides
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
7
Staining The Ziehl-Neelsen method
7
Add decolourising solution to the slide and leave
for 3 minutes
9
Cover each slide with methylene blue
for 60 seconds only
11
Brightfield Method
A
Microscopy
8
• Gently rinse each slide with water
• Do not splash adjacent slides
• Tilt each slide to drain off excess water
10
• Gently rinse each slide with water
• Do not splash adjacent slides
• Tilt each slide to drain off excess water
12
Do not examine slides until they have dried
• Air dry away from direct sunlight
• Do not dry slides with blotting paper
• Clean back of slides with moist paper
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
A correctly stained smear
Staining Page 27
Method Brightfield
A
Microscopy
Examination Reading smears
Smears must be consistently and systematically examined to ensure
a representative area of the smear is reported.
1
2
Use the 10X objective to focus the first smear,
avoiding the oil drop. Scan the smear, looking for
purulent or mucoid material. Where the smear is too
thick, too thin, or contains epithelial cells only, move
up or down to find purulent or mucoid material;
continue scanning.
•Check the smear is facing upwards
•Apply one drop of immersion oil
•The drop must fall freely onto the smear so that the
oil applicator does not become contaminated with
TB organisms
P
Inflammatory cells (high power) – look for areas like this
Never allow the oil applicator
to touch the slide
7
Avoid areas containing epithelial cells (low power)
3
Carefully rotate the 100X oil objective lens
over the slide
Page 28 Examination
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Examination Reading smears
4
Brightfield Method
A
Microscopy
5
Carefully adjust the fine focus until cells are sharp
Never allow the lens to touch the
glass slide
6
Direction of traversing the stained slide
Examine at least 100 high power fields (one
length) before recording a negative result
You should take approximately 5 minutes
to read a negative smear
7
Place the slides smear down on a clean piece
of paper, leave overnight
Avoid contamination, always use
a clean piece of toilet paper
8
Wipe the microscope lens gently with tissue paper
to remove immersion oil after each positive slide and
when you have finished examining a batch of slides
(for cleaning agents see page 38)
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
P
7
7
Store the slides in LN order in a closed box.
They will be needed for EQA
Do not write the result on the slide
Do not treat slides with xylene
Examination Page 29
Method Brightfield
A
Microscopy
Examination Appearance of acid-fast bacilli
• Viewed with an oil immersion lens, AFB are red, slender rods, sometimes with one or more granules
• Tubercle bacilli may occur singly, as V-shaped forms, or as clumps of bacilli
• Report fragments of bacilli – often seen during treatment
Typical morphological characteristics of Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Single bacilli
V-shaped forms
Clumps of bacilli
Bacilli fragments
Where possible, all positive smears should be reviewed
by another technician
Page 30 Examination
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Brightfield Method
A
Microscopy
Reporting How to report
The number of
AFB indicates how
infectious the patient is.
It is important to record
exactly what you see.
1
What you see
What to report
No AFB in 100 fields
No AFB observed
1 – 9 AFB in 100 fields
Record exact number of bacilli
10 – 99 AFB in 100 fields
1+
1 – 10 AFB per field, check 50 fields
2+
More than 10 AFB per field, check 20 fields
3+
Read the smear
2
Laboratory Register
TB Laboratory Register for smear and Xpert MTB/RIF
757/1
Lab.
serial
No.
Date
specimen
1
received
Patient
name
Sex
M/F
Age
Date
of
birth
Patient
address
Treatment
unit
BMU
and TB
Register
No.
HIV
infection
(Y/ N/
Unk) 2
Patient
previously
treated for
TB3
Examination type
(Tick one option)
DiagFollow-up
nosis
4
Month
5
Xpert
Date
Examination results
6
Smear microscopy
1
2
3
Date
Date
Remarks7
Date
1 For diagnostic testing employing serial sputa or other specimens this is the date of receipt of the first set of specimens
2 Y=Yes; N=No; Unk = unknown
3 Y = previously treated; N = not previously treated, Unk = unknown
4 Patient on TB treatment; indicate months of treatment at which follow-up examination is performed
757/1
Request for examination of biological specimen for TB
Treatment Unit: __________________________________
5 Xpert MTB/RIF test result reported as follows :
T = MTB detected, rif resistance not detected;
RR = MTB detected, rif resistance detected;
TI = MTB detected, rif resistance indeterminate
N = MTB not detected;
I = Invalid / no result / error
6 Smear results reported as follows:
0=No AFB;
Scanty (and report number of AFB) = 1-9 AFB per 100HPF;
+ = 10-99 AFB per 100 HPF;
++ = 1-10 AFB per HPF;
+++ = > 10 AFB per HPF
Date of request:__________________
Patient name: _____________________________________________________________________
Age (years): ______ Date of Birth: ___________________ Sex:
Male
Female
Patient address:____________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________ Telephone: ______________________
7 If Xpert MTB/RIF indeterminate result, indicate error code or 'invalid'
Reason for examination:
Diagnosis. If diagnosis, presumptive RR-TB/MDR-TB?:
OR
Yes
No
Follow-up. If follow-up, month of treatment: ______
26
HIV infection?:
Yes
No
Unknown
Previously treated for TB?:
Yes
No
Unknown
Specimen type:
Sputum
Other (specify):___________________________
Test(s) requested:
Microscopy
Culture
Xpert MTB/RIF
Drug susceptibility
Line Probe Assay
4
Transfer the result to the
Laboratory Register
Name and signature of requestor: _____________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
Microscopy results (to be completed in the laboratory)
Date sample Specimen Laboratory Visual appearance
Result (check one)
collected
serial
(blood-stained,
type
+
+++
++
number(s) mucopurulent or Negative 1-9 /
(filled by
100HPF
saliva)
(0 AFB /
(10-99
(1-10 AFB (>10 AFB
requestor)
757/1
3
/ HPF)
100HPF) (scanty; AFB /
100HPF)
report
number of
AFB)
/ HPF)
Record results
Date /Sign
Examined by (Name and signature): _________________________________________________
Date of result: _______________________________________
5
6
Return to doctor
or clinic
Laboratory Request Form
12
1.Use the LN to find the correct patient Request Form
2.Read the smear
3.Immediately record the result on the Request Form
4.Transfer the result to the Laboratory Register
use red pen for positive results
5.Date and sign the Laboratory Request Form
6.Return the completed Laboratory Request Form to the Doctor or Clinic
Do not give results to the patients as lost reports may delay treatment
Do not write the results on the slide as they are needed for EQA checking
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Reporting Page 31
Method Brightfield
A
Microscopy
Summary
Be accurate and consistent in all your work, lives depend on you
False-negative means
reported negative but truly
smear-positive
False-negatives – consequences
• Patients with TB may not be treated resulting in on-going disease, disease
transmission, or death
Prevention
• Label sputum containers, slides and laboratory forms accurately
• The specimen must contain sputum not saliva
• Select purulent material to make the smear
• Smear preparation – centred, spread evenly, 2cm x 1cm in size
• Use good quality basic fuchsin powder and reagents
• Heat carbol fuchsin until steaming
• Do not boil during fixation
• Stain with carbol fuchsin – minimum 10 minutes
• Do not overheat the carbol fuchsin
• Decolourise until no more carbol fuchsin is released, maximum 3 minutes
• Counterstain – maximum 60 seconds
• Keep the microscope well maintained and the lenses clean
• Perform regular QC on stains and reagents
• Check the slide LN matches the Laboratory Request Form before recording the result
Don’t rush – examine at least 100 fields in one length before reporting
‘No AFB observed’
False-positive means
reported positive but truly
smear-negative
False-positives – consequences
• Patients are treated or retreated unnecessarily
• Medications will be wasted
Prevention
• Ensure laboratory staff can reliably recognise acid-fast bacilli
• Label sputum containers, slides and laboratory forms accurately
• Always use new unscratched slides
• Use bamboo/wooden sticks once only
• Do not allow carbol fuchsin to dry on the smear
• Decolourise adequately
• The oil applicator must not touch the slide
• Keep the microscope well maintained, the lenses clean, store appropriately
• Perform regular QC of stains and reagents
• Check the slide LN matches the Laboratory Request Form before recording the result
Page 32 Summary
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Ziehl-Neelsen reagent preparation
Brightfield Method
A
Microscopy
Stain Carbol fuchsin – 1.0%Grade
Basic fuchsin powder
10g
Certified
Ethanol (or methanol)
100ml
Technical
Phenol crystals*
50g*use colourless not tinted crystals
Analytical
Distilled water
900ml
Phenol crystals and vapour are corrosive, toxic and may cause burns
Use care, prepare in a well ventilated area
Preparation
1. Add 100ml of ethanol (or methanol) to a one litre glass flask
2. Add 50g of phenol crystals and dissolve
3. Add 10g of basic fuchsin powder
4. Mix well until dissolved
5. Add distilled water to make one litre
6. Label the bottle – “1% carbol fuchsin”, date and initial
8. Store in a dark bottle in a cupboard at room temperature (expiry 12 months)
Wash your hands after preparing reagents
Label
1% carbol fuchsin
Preparation date
Initial
Perform a Quality Control check and record results in the QA log book
Filter solution at time of use
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Ziehl-Neelsen reagent preparation Page 33
Method Brightfield
A
Microscopy
Ziehl-Neelsen reagent preparation
Decolourising solution
Always add the acid to ethanol or water. Solutions will generate heat.
25% H2SO4
Grade
Concentrated sulphuric acid (H2SO4)
250ml
Distilled water
750ml
Technical
Preparation
1. Carefully add the H2SO4 to the water
2. Label the bottle “25% H2SO4”, date and initial
3. Store in a dark bottle in a cupboard at room temperature (expiry 12 months)
3% HCl in ethanol (acid alcohol)
Grade
Fuming hydrochloric acid (HCI)
30ml
95% ethanol
970ml
Technical
Technical
Preparation
1. Carefully add the HCI to the ethanol
2. Label the bottle “3% HCI in ethanol”, date and initial
3. Store in a dark bottle in a cupboard at room temperature (expiry 12 months)
6% HCI
Grade
Fuming hydrochloric acid (HCI)
60ml
Distilled water
940ml
Technical
Preparation
1. Carefully add the HCl to the water
2. Label the bottle “6% HCl”, date and initial
3. Store in a dark bottle in a cupboard at room temperature (expiry 12 months)
Counterstain
0.1% methylene blue
Methylene blue chloride
1.0g
Distilled water
1000ml
Preparation
1. Dissolve the methylene blue chloride in distilled water
2. Label the bottle – “0.1% methylene blue”, date and initial
4. Store in a dark bottle in a cupboard at room temperature (expiry 12 months)
Perform a Quality Control check and record results in the QA log book.
Page 34 Ziehl-Neelsen reagent preparation
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
The microscope
Brightfield Method
A
Microscopy
The microscopy area should be:
• Free from dust
• On a stable level platform
• Away from centrifuges and refrigerators
• Away from water, sinks or chemicals to avoid splashes or spills
• Ergonomically correct work position (see page 77)
Binocular eye pieces
Power On/Off
Dioptre ring adjustment
Voltage
regulator
(light
intensity)
Nose piece
Objective lenses
Stage
Coarse
focus
Condenser diaphragm
Centering screws
Field diaphragm
Fine
focus
Stage X
movement
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Stage Y
movement
The microscope Page 35
Method Brightfield
A
Microscopy
The microscope
Setting up the microscope
For binocular microscopes with pre-centred and fixed condensers:
1. Rotate the nose-piece to the 10X objective
2. Set the variable voltage regulator to minimum
3. Turn the power on
4. Slowly adjust until the desired light intensity is reached
5. Place a stained slide onto the stage
6. Bring the smear into focus with the coarse and fine-adjustment knobs
Always use the focusing adjustment knobs to lower the stage
away from the lens
7. Adjust the interpupillary distance until the right and left images merge
8. Focus the image with the right eye by looking into the right eye-piece and
adjusting with the fine focus knob
9. Focus the image with the left eye by looking into the left eye piece and turning
the dioptre ring
10. Open the condenser iris diaphragm so that the field is evenly lit
11. Place one drop of immersion oil onto the smear and rotate the 100X
objective into it
Page 36 The microscope
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
The microscope
Brightfield Method
A
Microscopy
12. Focus using the fine adjustment knob
13. Use the variable voltage regulator to achieve a comfortable illumination
14. Once the smear has been read, rotate the 100X objective away, locate the 10X
objective over the slide, and then remove the slide
15. When finished, reset the voltage regulator to a minimum, and turn the power off
16. At the end of each day, use fine tissue paper to carefully remove immersion
oil from the 100X lens, do not use gauze. Cover the microscope, or put it in the
microscope box or return to the humidity controlled cupboard
Do’s and Don’ts
• The 100X objective is the only lens requiring immersion oil
• Keep immersion oil away from other lenses
• Immersion oil must have medium viscosity and a refractive index (RI) greater
than 1.5. Any synthetic, non-drying oil with an RI > 1.5 is suitable (refer to manufacturer’s instructions)
• Do not use cedar wood oil as it leaves a sticky residue on the lens
Never use cedar wood oil diluted with xylene instead of immersion oil,
as it will quickly destroy the lens
Immersion oil – a simple test
Good immersion oil
Poor immersion oil
P
7
A clear glass rod
‘disappears’ RI > 1.5
Glass rod still visible
below the surface RI < 1.5
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
The microscope Page 37
Method Brightfield
A
Microscopy
The microscope
Maintenance
Do not use xylene
Cleaning lenses
Some cleaning agents will damage lenses over time – for daily cleaning
use tissue paper
Cleaning Agent
Long term use
Manufacturer’s recommendation
Infrequent use
P
P
P P
Alcohol7 P
Benzene/petrol 7 P
Acetone/ketones
7 P
Ethyl ether/alcohol (80/20)
Xylene7
7
• Never use xylene to clean any part of a microscope
• Remove dust and sand from dry lenses before using cleaning fluid
• When ever possible use the cleaning fluid recommended by the manufacturer
• Use a minimum amount of cleaning fluid, never dip a lens into cleaning fluid
• Fine tissue paper is best for cleaning optical surfaces as it does not scratch the lens
• Alternatively use fine quality toilet paper
• Do not use ordinary paper, or cotton wool or gauze to clean lenses
• Keep the microscope covered when not in use
• Keep the eye-pieces in place
• Fungus or dust may enter through holes where objectives in the nose-piece are missing
P
7
Cover holes from missing objectives
Page 38 The microscope
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
The microscope
Brightfield Method
A
Microscopy
• If the image appears hazy with black dots, check for dust or dirt on the lenses
(eye-pieces, objectives, condenser and illuminator lens). If:
– The black dot moves when the eye-piece is rotated, then the dust is on the eye-piece
– The black dot moves when the slide is moved, then it is on the slide
– These two are ruled out, then assume the dust is on the objective (if inside the objective, it appears as dots; if on the outside, then as a hazy image)
• Dust can be removed using a camel-hair/artist brush or by blowing over the lens
with an air brush
A simple air brush made using a Pasteur pipette and
rubber bulb
Light source
• Never touch the glass bulb surface as skin oils will burn, reducing light intensity
• Use paper to hold the bulb when inserting into the microscope
Use a tissue, do not touch the bulb with your fingers
Mechanical parts
• Never disassemble the microscope – send to a specialist technician
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
The microscope Page 39
Method Brightfield
A
Microscopy
The microscope
Fungal growth
Fungus growing inside the eyepiece tube
• Fungus growth on the lenses, the eye-piece tube and prisms causes the microscope image to become hazy and unclear
• To check for fungus turn the microscope on:
– Rotate the 10x objective into the light path
– Take out both eyepieces, look down the eyepiece tubes for fungus
• To prevent fungal growth, the microscope should be kept in a warm cupboard
or box. A cupboard with a tightly fitting door, heated by a light globe (maximum 25W), works well
– Always leave the cupboard light on, even when the microscope
is not in the cupboard
Page 40 The microscope
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
The microscope
Brightfield Method
A
Microscopy
Warming box for microscope storage
Lamp 25W maximum
• If proper storage is not available, keep the microscope in the shade and with
good air circulation
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
The microscope Page 41
Method Brightfield
A
Microscopy
Trouble-shooting Staining
Correctly stained slides
A
ProblemCauseRemedy
Insufficient decolourisation Decolourise for longer
Smear too pink Acid concentration very low, or applied for too short a time
For commercial reagents, check with NTP
For in-house reagents, recheck stain preparation and QC results
Carbol fuchsin (CF) has dried on smear
Check smears are level over sink
Add sufficient CF
Smear too thick
Prepare new smear
Page 42 Trouble-shooting Staining
When correctly stained this slide looks like A above
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Trouble-shooting Staining
Brightfield Method
A
Microscopy
ProblemCauseRemedy
CF prepared from poor quality Use reagents from reputable
Pale acid-fast bacilli reagents
stain manufacturer For in-house reagents, recheck
preparation and QC results
CF insufficiently heated Heat CF to steaming
CF staining time less than 10 minutes
Stain for a minimum of 10 minutes
Smear overheated during preparation or staining
Pass over flame 3 times,
1-2 seconds each time
Stop heating when CF steams
Replace reagent
Store stain bottle in the dark
CF reagent has expired or stored in direct sunlight
ProblemCauseRemedy
Excessive counterstaining time Do not exceed 60 seconds
Counterstain too dark Inadequate washing step after counterstaining
Extend washing step
Methylene blue concentration too strong
stain For commercial reagents, check with NTP
For in-house reagents, recheck
preparation and QC results
Prepare new smear
Smear too thick
ProblemCauseRemedy
Stains not filtered Filter stains
Deposit on slide Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Soot deposit on underside of smear
Clean with a moist tissue paper
Trouble-shooting Staining Page 43
Method Brightfield
A
Microscopy
Trouble-shooting Microscopy
ProblemCauseRemedy
Light flickers or does Loose plug or connection
not turn on
Check wall sockets, transformer, power supply
Loose light bulb
Reinstall the bulb – Do not touch bulb with fingers
Dirty bulb contacts
Clean contacts with 70%
alcohol and retry or replace bulb
Erratic voltage supply
Use a voltage stabiliser
Faulty on-off switch
Replace the switch
Fuse blown or transformer blown
Replace the fuse
Discoloured bulb/burnt out
Replace the bulb – Do not touch bulb with fingers
ProblemCauseRemedy
Uneven illumination
Field of view partially blocked
Rotate the nose-piece until it clicks into position
Recalibrate microscope
Iris diaphragm is almost closed or condenser is not aligned
Dirty lenses
Gently wipe the lenses with lens paper/soft cloth. If the trouble persists clean with lens paper soaked in the recommended lens cleaning fluid (see page 38)
Heavy fungal growth on lenses
Clean the lens using lens cleaning fluid as recommended by the manufacturer
ProblemCauseRemedy
Excessive image contrast Iris diaphragm is almost closed
Page 44 Trouble-shooting Microscopy
Open diaphragm
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Trouble-shooting Microscopy
Brightfield Method
A
Microscopy
ProblemCauseRemedy
Unclear image with glare
Iris diaphragm too far open
Close the iris diaphragm to make the opening smaller
ProblemCauseRemedy
Specimen focused at Slide upside down
Turn it over
10x but not at higher
magnification
ProblemCauseRemedy
Specimen goes out of focus Slide is not flat on the stage
Clean the stage and underside
more than usual at high of slide
magnification
ProblemCauseRemedy
Mechanical stage cannot Lock set too low
be raised
Adjust to proper height and
lock
ProblemCauseRemedy
Mechanical stage is not moving, Poor tension adjustment on the too stiff or does not stay up
mechanical stage
Adjust tension with tension adjustment knob (if present)
Microscope requires service
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Solidified lubricants
Trouble-shooting Microscopy Page 45
Method Brightfield
A
Microscopy
Trouble-shooting Microscopy
P
Good
ProblemCauseRemedy
Oil immersion objective does
not give a clear image
Insufficient oil on slide
Add immersion oil
Light source or condenser
collector lens dirty
Clean using lens paper and cleaning fluid
Poor quality immersion oil (low refractive index)
Use quality immersion oil
(see page 37) Clean lens with tissue paper
Surface of the lens is dirty If oil/fungus inside the objective, replace lens
Air dry slides
Water on slide Bubbles in immersion oil
Remove oil from slide and carefully reapply oil
Clean or replace lens
Oil inside lens
Page 46 Trouble-shooting Microscopy
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Trouble-shooting Microscopy
Brightfield Method
A
Microscopy
P
Good
ProblemCauseRemedy
Dust/dirt visible in the field Dust on the collector lens of the Clean all surfaces
of view
light source
Dust on the top-most lens of the
Clean all condenser surfaces
condenser
Dust on the eye-piece
Clean all surfaces
ProblemCauseRemedy
Cracked objective lens
Lens has been dropped
Replace lens
Lens forced into slide or stage
Replace lens
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Trouble-shooting Microscopy Page 47
Method Brightfield
A
Microscopy
Trouble-shooting Microscopy
ProblemCauseRemedy
Regular or semi regular
The glass slide is scratched
Learn to recognise glass artefacts
crescent shapes that maybe
confused for AFBs
AFB
ProblemCauseRemedy
Headaches/incomplete Improper adjustment of interpupillary Adjust the interpupillary distance
binocular vision
distance
Dioptre adjustment was not done
Adjust dioptre settings
Eye-pieces are not matched
Use matched eye-pieces
ProblemCauseRemedy
Fuse blows frequently
Fuse incorrectly rated
Replace with correctly rated fuse
Unstable line voltage
Use voltage protection device
Page 48 Trouble-shooting Microscopy
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Method Fluorescence
B
Microscopy
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Insert text Page 49
Method Fluorescence
B
Microscopy
Contents
Page
Staining
What you need
Auramine method
Bulk staining
Examination
Reading smears
Appearance of acid-fast bacilli
52
52
54
56
58
58
59
How to report
61
61
Summary
62
Reporting
False-negatives
– Consequences
– Prevention
False-positives
– Consequences
– Prevention
Auramine reagent preparation
63
66
66
– Staining
Trouble-shooting
Introduction
Fluorescence Method
B
Microscopy
In 2011, WHO released a new policy on Light Emitting Diode (LED) based
Fluorescent Microscopy (FM) for diagnosing TB. FM is equally accurate, at
least 10% more sensitive and has qualitative, operational, cost and workload
advantages for all laboratories performing sputum smear microscopy.
WHO recommended a phased approach to change from brightfield microscopy
to LED-based FM across the microscopy network.
LED FM offers considerable advantages over conventional FM, which requires a
darkened room to read smears. Conventional FM relies on expensive mercury
vapour lamps that have a limited life span, generate large amounts of heat, and
are a safety hazard if broken.
For a laboratory with a high workload, bulk staining is an acceptable option and
protocols are described on page 56-57.
Reporting
Due to an historical inaccuracy, the FM reporting scale for positive smears
has been revised because the actual field observed is larger than previously
calculated.
Low scanty positives, 1-4 AFB in one length at 200x magnification, or 1-2 in
one length at 400x magnification should be confirmed by:
• viewing additional fields
• having another technician check the AFB morphology or
• collecting another sputum sample
Confirmation of FM low-positive smears by re-staining with ZN should not
be done.
Quality control
AFB in FM-stained smears fade rapidly; for FM re-stain all smears. Auramine
reagent must be prepared as 10X concentrated stock that keeps well for 12
months. Diluted staining solution may deteriorate within a few months, and
should prepared monthly from stock.
Introducing LED FM methods
The switch to LED FM should be carefully phased in at country level, with LED
technology that meets WHO specifications. Countries using LED microscopy
should retrain laboratory staff with strong emphasis on practical training of
longer duration. EQA should be introduced for individual laboratories; technique
validated for the network as a whole, and the effect on TB case detection rates
and treatment outcomes monitored.
Staining solutions can deteriorate quickly – the solution becomes lighter
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Introduction Page 51
Method Fluorescence
B
Microscopy
Staining What you need
To stain smears using the Auramine method you will need:
Staining rack to support slides over sink or bucket
Forceps
Water
Slide rack for drying stained slides
Staining bottle
Timer
Page 52 Staining
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Staining What you need
Stain
0.1% auramine
Fluorescence Method
B
Microscopy
Decolouriser
Counterstain
0.5% acid-alcohol
0.3% methylene blue
or 0.5% potassium
permanganate
You will require 1 – 2 volumes of decolouriser for each volume of stain
How to fold a filter
1
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
2
3
Staining Page 53
Fluorescence Method
B
Microscopy
Staining Auramine method
1
Filter during use
2
Place the slides smear upwards, in LN order,
on the staining rack over the sink or bucket,
about a finger-width apart
Ensure the slides are level
3
Leave the stain on the slides
– minimum of 20 minutes
5
Add acid-alcohol to each slide and leave on
for 1-2 minutes
Page 54 Staining
Cover the slides completely with filtered auramine
Do not heat
4
• Gently rinse each slide with water
• Tilt each slide to drain off excess water
Do not splash adjacent slides
7
6
Gently rinse each slide with water
Do not splash adjacent slides
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
7
Staining Auramine method
7
• Do not splash other slides
• Tilt each slide to drain off excess water
9
Fluorescence Method
B
Microscopy
8
Cover each slide with methylene blue for 1 minute
If permanganate is used, time is critical
because a longer time may quench the
acid-fast bacilli fluorescence
10
Gently rinse each slide with water
11
• Do not splash other slides
• Tilt each slide to drain off excess water
12
Do not examine slides until they have dried
• Air dry away from direct sunlight
• Do not dry slides using blotting paper
A correctly stained smear
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Staining Page 55
Fluorescence Method
B
Microscopy
Staining Auramine bulk method
Bulk staining
Consider this method when workload exceeds 10 smears per day.
What you need
Timer
Slide basket
Water
1
Place slides in LN order, facing one direction,
in a slide basket
3
Fill the wash container with water
Page 56 Staining
Four ~600 ml glass
containers able to hold
the slide basket
•Stain 0.1% auramine
•Decolouriser
0.5% acid-alcohol
•Counterstain
0.3% methylene blue
2
Place the slide basket into auramine, ensure slides
are covered leave for 20 minutes minimum
Do not heat
4
Remove slide basket from auramine,
place into water.
Gently move the slide basket up and down
(± 1cm) 2-3 times (gentle agitation)
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Staining Auramine bulk method
5
Fluorescence Method
B
Microscopy
6
Rinse the wash container. Discard and refill twice
8
Remove from water place into decolouriser
for 2 minutes – gentle agitation
7
Remove the slide basket from the water, place
into counterstain solution for 1 minute, ensure
slides are covered
10
Remove the slide basket from the counterstain solution
and place into the water; gentle agitation
Remove the slide basket from the decolourising
solution and place into the water; gentle agitation
12
9
Discard the water from the container: refill and
discard twice
11
Air dry slides away from direct sunlight
Remove from water, tilt to drain
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
A correctly stained smear
Staining Page 57
Fluorescence Method
B
Microscopy
Examination Reading smears
Keep stained smears in the dark using a slide box or folder as fluorescence
quickly fades when exposed to light
Read the smears on the same day they were stained.
AFB are stained bright yellow against a dark background, but with some filter systems
they will appear green.
Use the 20X objective to scan the smear and the 40X objective for confirming
suspicious objects.
Smears must be examined in a consistent way to ensure a representative area of the
smear is reported. At least one length of the smear must be examined before reporting
a negative result.
When the smear has been read, store the slides immediately in LN order in a closed box,
as they will be needed for EQA.
Do not write the result on the slide.
Do not restain scanty smear positives with ZN
Page 58 Examination
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Examination Appearance of AFB
Fluorescence Method
B
Microscopy
The typical appearance of AFB is a long, slender, slightly curved rod,
but variable in shape and staining intensity
They may be uniformly stained or may contain one or more gaps, or have a granular
appearance. AFB occur singly, in small groups containing a few bacilli, or more rarely,
as large clumps.
Long and slender
Slightly curved
One or more gaps
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Uniformly stained
Granular
Examination Page 59
Fluorescence Method
B
Microscopy
Single AFB
Examination Appearance of AFB
Small groups
Large clumps
Stained smears may contain fluorescing artefacts which do not have a typical bacillary
shape, and sometimes also a different colour.
Non-fluorescing yellow or green coloured bacillary shapes should not be
accepted as AFB
Page 60 Examination
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Fluorescence Method
B
Microscopy
Reporting How to report
The number of
AFB indicates how
infectious the patient is.
It is important to record
exactly what you see.
1
What you see (200x)
What you see (400x)
What to report
No AFB in one length
No AFB in one length
No AFB observed
Confirmation required*
1-4 AFB in one length
1-2 AFB in one length
5-49 AFB in one length
3-24 AFB in one length Scanty
3-24 AFB in one field
1-6 AFB in one field
1+
25-250 AFB in one field
7-60 AFB in one field
2+
>250 AFB in one field
>60 AFB in one field
3+
* Confirmation required by another technician or prepare another smear, stain and read
Read the smear
2
Laboratory Register
TB Laboratory Register for smear and Xpert MTB/RIF
757/1
Lab.
serial
No.
Date
specimen
1
received
Patient
name
Sex
M/F
Age
Date
of
birth
Patient
address
Treatment
unit
BMU
and TB
Register
No.
HIV
infection
(Y/ N/
Unk) 2
Patient
previously
treated for
TB3
Examination type
(Tick one option)
DiagFollow-up
nosis
4
Month
5
Xpert
Date
Examination results
6
Smear microscopy
1
2
3
Date
Date
Remarks7
Date
1 For diagnostic testing employing serial sputa or other specimens this is the date of receipt of the first set of specimens
2 Y=Yes; N=No; Unk = unknown
3 Y = previously treated; N = not previously treated, Unk = unknown
4 Patient on TB treatment; indicate months of treatment at which follow-up examination is performed
757/1
Request for examination of biological specimen for TB
Treatment Unit: __________________________________
5 Xpert MTB/RIF test result reported as follows :
T = MTB detected, rif resistance not detected;
RR = MTB detected, rif resistance detected;
TI = MTB detected, rif resistance indeterminate
N = MTB not detected;
I = Invalid / no result / error
6 Smear results reported as follows:
0=No AFB;
Scanty (and report number of AFB) = 1-9 AFB per 100HPF;
+ = 10-99 AFB per 100 HPF;
++ = 1-10 AFB per HPF;
+++ = > 10 AFB per HPF
Date of request:__________________
Patient name: _____________________________________________________________________
Age (years): ______ Date of Birth: ___________________ Sex:
Male
Female
Patient address:____________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________ Telephone: ______________________
7 If Xpert MTB/RIF indeterminate result, indicate error code or 'invalid'
Reason for examination:
Diagnosis. If diagnosis, presumptive RR-TB/MDR-TB?:
OR
Yes
No
Follow-up. If follow-up, month of treatment: ______
26
HIV infection?:
Yes
No
Unknown
Previously treated for TB?:
Yes
No
Unknown
Specimen type:
Sputum
Other (specify):___________________________
Test(s) requested:
Microscopy
Culture
Xpert MTB/RIF
Drug susceptibility
Line Probe Assay
4
Transfer the result to the
Laboratory Register
Name and signature of requestor: _____________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
Microscopy results (to be completed in the laboratory)
Date sample Specimen Laboratory Visual appearance
Result (check one)
collected
serial
(blood-stained,
type
+
+++
++
number(s) mucopurulent or Negative 1-9 /
(filled by
100HPF
saliva)
(0 AFB /
(10-99
(1-10 AFB (>10 AFB
requestor)
757/1
3
/ HPF)
100HPF) (scanty; AFB /
100HPF)
report
number of
AFB)
/ HPF)
Record results
Date /Sign
Examined by (Name and signature): _________________________________________________
Date of result: _______________________________________
5
6
Return to doctor
or clinic
Laboratory Request Form
12
1.Use the LN to find the correct patient Request Form
2.Read the smear
3.Immediately record the result on the Request Form
4.Transfer the result to the Laboratory Register
use red pen for positive results
5.Date and sign the Laboratory Request Form
6.Return the completed Laboratory Request Form to the Doctor or Clinic
Do not give results to the patients as lost reports may delay treatment
Do not write the results on the slide as they are needed for EQA checking
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Reporting Page 61
Fluorescence Method
B
Microscopy
Summary
Be accurate and consistent in all your work, lives depend on you
False-negatives – consequences
False-negative means
reported negative but truly
smear-positive
• Patients with TB may not be treated resulting in on-going disease, disease
transmission, or death
Prevention
• Label sputum containers, slides and laboratory forms accurately
• The specimen must contain sputum not saliva
• Select purulent material to make the smear
• Smear preparation – centred, not too thick or too small
• Use auramine solution as fresh as possible; do not prepare large quantities
• Stain with auramine – minimum 20 minutes
• Decolourise for 1-2 minutes only
• Counterstain – maximum 1 minute
• Read smears as soon as possible and keep them protected from light
• Keep the microscope well maintained and the lenses clean
• Perform QC – use positive controls every day to check staining procedure
and microscope function
• Check the slide LN matches the Laboratory Request Form before recording the result
Don’t rush – examine at least one length of a smear before recording
a negative result
False-positive means
reported positive but truly
smear-negative
False-positives – consequences
• Patients are treated or retreated unnecessarily
• Medications will be wasted
Prevention
• Ensure laboratory technicians can reliably recognise acid-fast bacilli
• Label sputum containers, slides and laboratory forms accurately
• Always use new unscratched slides
• Use bamboo/wooden sticks once only
• Filter auramine staining solution during use
• Do not allow auramine to dry on the smear
• Decolourise adequately
• Keep the microscope well maintained, the lenses clean, store appropriately
• Perform QC – use positive controls every day
• Check the slide LN matches the Laboratory Request Form before recording the result
Page 62 Summary
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Fluorescence Method
B
Microscopy
Auramine reagent preparation
Stain 8
Auramine is a potential cancer causing agent – always wear gloves and clean
any spills immediately
Phenol crystals and vapour are corrosive, toxic, and may cause burns;
avoid contact with skin and mucous membranes, prepare in a well
ventilated area
0.1% Auramine
Grade
Auramine 10.0g
Ethanol (denatured) or methanol
1000ml
Certified
Technical
Phenol crystals*
30g*use colourless not tinted crystals
Analytical
Distilled water
900ml
Preparation
To ensure solutions are fresh, laboratories examining low numbers of smears should
prepare smaller volumes.
Solution A
1.Add 1000ml of ethanol (or methanol) to a one-litre glass flask
2.Add 10.0g of auramine powder, mix until dissolved completely
Do not use heat since this can inactivate the auramine
3.Label “1.0% auramine in alcohol”, date and initial
4.Store in a dark bottle in a cupboard at room temperature (expiry 12 months)
Solution B
1.Dissolve 30g of phenol crystals in 900ml distilled water, mix
2.Label the bottle “3% phenolic solution for auramine”, date and initial
3.Store in a dark bottle in a cupboard at room temperature (expiry 12 months)
Preparation of 0.1% auramine solution
1.Add 50ml of solution A (1% auramine in alcohol) to a 500ml dark glass bottle
2.Add 450ml of solution B (phenolic solution for auramine) and mix
3.Label the bottle “0.1% auramine”, date and initial
4.Store in a cupboard at room temperature (expiry 2 months)
Filter auramine solution when applying to smears or filling bulk staining containers.
Wash your hands after preparing reagents
Perform a Quality Control check and record results in the QA log book.
Correctly prepared auramine is a rich golden colour – discard if pale
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Auramine reagent preparation Page 63
Fluorescence Method
B
Microscopy
Auramine reagent preparation
Decolouriser Always add the acid to ethanol. Solutions will generate heat
0.5% acid-alcohol
8
Grade
Fuming hydrochloric acid
5ml
Technical
Ethanol (denatured) or methanol
1000ml
Technical
Preparation
1.Carefully add the hydrochloric acid to the alcohol
2.Label the bottle “0.5% acid alcohol”, date and initial
3.Store in a dark bottle in a cupboard at room temperature (expiry 12 months)
4.Perform QC and record in the QA log book
1% HCl in 10% alcohol in water
Grade
Fuming hydrochloric acid
10ml
Technical
Ethanol (denatured) or methanol
100ml
Technical
Distilled water
890ml
Preparation
1.Carefully add the alcohol (or methanol) to the distilled water
2.Carefully add the hydrochloric acid to the 10% alcohol (or methanol) in water
3.Label the bottle “1% HCl in 10% alcohol in water”, date and initial
4.Store in a dark bottle in a cupboard at room temperature (expiry 12 months)
5.Perform QC and record in the QA log book
Counterstain Two counterstains are described; 0.3% methylene blue (preferred) is a true counterstain,
whilst 0.5% potassium permanganate acts as a quenching agent.
The choice of counterstaining solution depends on the microscope system used:
permanganate produces a very dark background in some systems, making it hard to
keep focus. If this occurs, then 0.3% methylene blue is a better choice counterstain,
although there is slightly less contrast.
0.3% methylene blue
Grade
Methylene blue
3.0g
Distilled water
1000ml
Analytical
Preparation
1.Add the methylene blue to the distilled water
2.Label the bottle “0.3% methylene blue”, date and initial
3.Store in a dark bottle in a cupboard at room temperature (expiry 12 months)
4.Perform QC and record in the QA log book
Page 64 Auramine reagent preparation
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Auramine reagent preparation
Fluorescence Method
B
Microscopy
Potassium permanganate is a powerful oxidising agent and may cause burns
8
0.5% potassium permanganate
Grade
Potassium permanganate
5.0g
Distilled water
1000ml
Technical
Preparation
1.Add the potassium permanganate to the distilled water
2.Label the bottle “0.5% potassium permanganate”, date and initial
3.Store in a dark bottle in a cupboard at room temperature (expiry 12 months)
4.Perform QC and record in the QA log book
The solution should be bright purple; if it is brick-red in colour it is oxidised
discard it – rinse the bottle before refilling
P
7
Wash your hands after preparing reagents
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Auramine reagent preparation Page 65
Fluorescence Method
B
Microscopy
Trouble-shooting Staining
ProblemCauseRemedy
Too much fluorescence
Insufficient decolourisation
Counterstain too weak
or no alcohol
Auramine has dried on the smear
Auramine not filtered
Smear too thick
Check decolourisation time
Prepare new reagent
Check smears are level over sink
Add sufficient stain
Filter auramine at time of use
Prepare new smear
Do not heat during staining
ProblemCauseRemedy
Pale acid-fast bacilli
Auramine has expired or stored in Replace reagent
direct sunlight
Auramine <0.1%
Staining time <20 minutes
Smear overheated during fixation step
Overdecolourised Stained smears exposed to daylight
Smear too thick
7
P
Page 66 Trouble-shooting Staining
Store bottle in the dark
Recheck stain preparation
and QC results
Stain for at least 20 minutes
Pass smear through flame
3 times, 1-2 seconds each time
Do not exceed the maximum time (1-2 minutes only)
Keep slides in the dark using slide box or similar
Read smears as soon as possible
Prepare new smear
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Fluorescence Method
B
Microscopy
Trouble-shooting Staining
ProblemCauseRemedy
Background too dark
Counterstained too long (or)
Do not exceed 1 minute
Decolourised too long
Do not exceed 2 minutes
Inadequate washing step after Extend washing step
counterstaining
Ensure washing step is complete
Counterstain concentration
Recheck stain preparation and
too strong
QC results
Smear too thick
Prepare new smear
7
For microscope problems refer to manufacturer’s instructions
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Trouble-shooting Staining Page 67
Appendices
Specimen containers
Ideal specimen container
P
Multi-thread screw cap
P
Clear break-resistant plastic
P
Wide-mouth
P
Can be written on
with a permanent
marker pen
P
P
Single-use
Clean
Page 68 Specimen containers
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Appendices
Documentation
Laboratory Request Form
This example shows the type of information required on a Specimen Request Form.
Request for examination of biological specimen for TB
Treatment Unit: __________________________________
Date of request:__________________
Patient name: _____________________________________________________________________
Age (years): ______ Date of Birth: ___________________ Sex:
Male
Female
Patient address:____________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________ Telephone: ______________________
Reason for examination:
Diagnosis. If diagnosis, presumptive RR-TB/MDR-TB?:
OR
Yes
No
Follow-up. If follow-up, month of treatment: ______
HIV infection?:
Yes
No
Unknown
Previously treated for TB?:
Yes
No
Unknown
Specimen type:
Sputum
Other (specify):___________________________
Test(s) requested:
Microscopy
Culture
Xpert MTB/RIF
Drug susceptibility
Line Probe Assay
Name and signature of requestor: _____________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
Microscopy results (to be completed in the laboratory)
Date sample Specimen Laboratory Visual appearance
Result (check one)
collected
serial
(blood-stained,
type
+
+++
++
number(s) mucopurulent or Negative 1-9 /
(filled by
100HPF
saliva)
(0 AFB /
(10-99
(1-10 AFB (>10 AFB
requestor)
/ HPF)
100HPF) (scanty; AFB /
100HPF)
report
number of
AFB)
/ HPF)
Examined by (Name and signature): _________________________________________________
Date of result: _______________________________________
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
12
Laboratory Request Form Page 69
Appendices
Documentation
Laboratory Register
This example shows the type of information required on a Laboratory Register.
TB Laboratory Register for smear and Xpert MTB/RIF
Lab.
serial
No.
Date
specimen
1
received
Patient
name
Sex
M/F
Age
Date
of
birth
Patient
address
Treatment
unit
BMU
and TB
Register
No.
HIV
infection
(Y/ N/
Unk) 2
Patient
previously
treated for
TB3
Examination type
(Tick one option)
DiagFollow-up
nosis
4
Month
5
Xpert
Date
Examination results
6
Smear microscopy
1
2
3
Date
Date
Date
1 For diagnostic testing employing serial sputa or other specimens this is the date of receipt of the first set of specimens
2 Y=Yes; N=No; Unk = unknown
3 Y = previously treated; N = not previously treated, Unk = unknown
4 Patient on TB treatment; indicate months of treatment at which follow-up examination is performed
5 Xpert MTB/RIF test result reported as follows :
T = MTB detected, rif resistance not detected;
RR = MTB detected, rif resistance detected;
TI = MTB detected, rif resistance indeterminate
N = MTB not detected;
I = Invalid / no result / error
6 Smear results reported as follows:
0=No AFB;
Scanty (and report number of AFB) = 1-9 AFB per 100HPF;
+ = 10-99 AFB per 100 HPF;
++ = 1-10 AFB per HPF;
+++ = > 10 AFB per HPF
7 If Xpert MTB/RIF indeterminate result, indicate error code or 'invalid'
26
The Laboratory Numbering system
The LN begins at number “1” at the start of each year.
It increases by one with each patient, until the end of the year.
Do not return to LN 1 at the end of each day, week, or month
Page 70 Laboratory Register
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Remarks7
Documentation
Appendices
Master List
Include a completed Master List whenever you send specimens to the smear
microscopy laboratory.
Master List
Laboratory name:
Address:
Patient name
Specimen 1 Specimen 2
Packed by
Name
Dispatched Date
Signature
/
/
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Time
:
AM/PM
Master List Page 71
Appendices
Abbreviations
Abbreviation Name in full
Page 72 Abbreviations
AFB Acid-Fast Bacilli
BSC Biological Safety Cabinet
CDC
Centre for Disease Control and Prevention
CF Carbol Fuchsin
EQA External Quality Assessment
FM Fluorescence Microscopy
GLI Global Laboratory Initiative
IUATLD
International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
JATA
Japan Anti-Tuberculosis Association
KNCV
KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation
KPIs
Key Performance Indicators
LED Light Emitting Diode
LN Laboratory Number
NTP National Tuberculosis Programme
PPE Personal Protective Equipment
QA
Quality Assurance
QC Quality Control
RI Refractive Index
TB Tuberculosis
v/v Volume for volume
VWS
Ventilated Work Station
WHO World Health Organization
ZN Ziehl-Neelsen
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Appendices
Biosafety
Laboratory design
The basic requirements for a sputum microscopy laboratory include:
1. Good ventilation
Directional ventilation provides healthy air for breathing. Air that may be
contaminated by laboratory processes should flow away from staff and out
of the laboratory.
2. A strong table/bench to prepare smears
3. A sink or plastic basin to stain smears
4. A table/bench to examine smears
5. A table/bench for paperwork
6. Basin for hand washing
7. Good lighting
8. Non-slip flooring
9. An area for receiving specimens
7
Window
Window opens to exterior
Microscopy bench
1
3
Waste bin
4
Records bench
5
Sink
8
Smear
preparation
area
2
9
Bench for incoming
specimens
Storage
cupboards
Hand
washing
basin
6
Gown rack
Sliding window to
receive specimens
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Biosafety Page 73
Appendices
Biosafety
Biological Safety Cabinets
A biological safety cabinet (BSC) is not required for sputum smear microscopy.
• Only laboratories performing culture and drug susceptibility testing need a
functioning BSC
• Never use a clean air cabinet, it can blow TB organisms into the laboratory
Contamination and infection control
Assume all samples are potentially infectious
Aerosols
Good work practice minimises aerosol formation and contamination of work surfaces
and equipment. (See page 8 Personal Safety).
Disinfection and Spills
Disinfection
Disinfectants recommended for use in TB laboratories contain phenols, chlorine
or alcohol.
Disinfection methods
Phenol 5% Alcohol 70% v/v Hypochlorite 0.5% Surfaces Yes Yes No Spills Prepare
Yes Every 2 days
No Weekly
Yes Every 2 days
If your skin is contaminated with phenol, bleach or alcohol, wash thoroughly
with soap and water
Phenol
• Toxic if swallowed
• Phenol is highly irritating to the skin, eyes and mucous membranes
(e.g. lungs)
• Due to its toxicity and smell synthetic phenol derivatives are generally
used in place of phenol
Chlorine
• Bleach is highly alkaline and will corrode metal
• Sodium hypochlorite solutions (domestic bleach) contain 35-150 g/l available
chlorine – store in a well ventilated dark area
• Dilute in water to obtain a final concentration of 0.5%
Alcohol
• Volatile and flammable
• Keep away from open flames
• Store in proper containers to avoid evaporation
• Label bottles clearly – do not autoclave
Page 74 Biosafety
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Biosafety
Appendices
Spills
Treat all spills as potentially infectious
1. Put on a laboratory coat and gloves
2. Place paper towel or cloth over the spill area and liberally apply
disinfectant solution
3. Leave covered – minimum 15 minutes
4. Clean up the contaminated material and put into the waste container
5. Clean with a final wash using 70% v/v alcohol
6. Wash your hands after the clean up is complete
Waste management
Treat all laboratory waste as infectious
Laboratory staff are responsible for waste management and ensuring that anyone who
must handle waste, including cleaners, drivers etc. is properly trained.
Where available autoclave laboratory waste before disposal.
Place potentially infectious waste into bins that have a disposable plastic lining with
disinfectant added. When moving waste within or outside the laboratory, put it into a
larger leak-proof plastic bag, tied at the top.
Laboratory staff are responsible for ensuring safe movement of laboratory waste.
When moving waste outside of the laboratory, the waste should be sealed in a
container with a lockable lid.
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Biosafety Page 75
Appendices
Biosafety
Waste disposal
Locate the burning drum away from people in an open area
as the fumes are toxic
1
Tighten caps, add specimen
containers and contents of the
discard bucket to the waste bucket
2
Burn bucket
contents
weekly
3
When cool, bury burning
drum contents at least
1.5 metres deep
1.5m
Page 76 Biosafety
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Appendices
Biosafety
Ergonomics
Good ergonomics reduces fatique and injury
P
Good posture – supporting your feet
straightens your back
P
Good posture – raise the microscope
to help straighten your back and keep
your feet flat on the floor
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
7
Poor posture – feet unsupported
7
Poor posture – seat too high or bench
too low – feet not flat
Biosafety Page 77
Appendices
Biosafety
Ventilated workstation
A ventilated workstation (VWS) is a partially enclosed workspace. Air is drawn
inward, away from the technician and exhausted outside the laboratory, VWS are
inexpensive to build and require little maintenance. VWS do not replace careful
attention to risk minimising laboratory methods.
For more information on VWS see Ventilated Workstation Manual for AFB Smear
Microscopy (see page 83).
Page 78 Biosafety
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Quality Assurance
Appendices
Accurate laboratory results rely on internal monitoring (Quality Control and Key
Performance Indicators) and EQA.
Why do Quality Control?
The purpose of Quality Control (QC) is to ensure that staining solutions work well
and that they are not contaminated with AFB. Good quality solutions and staining
technique make reading and reporting easier and more reliable. Accurate record
keeping of preparation and testing provides confidence in your results.
Technicians preparing new staining solutions are responsible for QC before the
solutions are used.
Technicians performing AFB-staining are responsible for regular QC using positive
control smears.
Technicians who prepare control smears are responsible for their QC.
Preparing unstained control smears
Positive control smears
Ideal positive control smears are easy to count low-positives in the 1+ range.
1.Confirm a 1+ result for the selected specimen on 2 or 3 stained smears:
• After liquefaction (standing overnight) and
• Mixing – with sputum pot closed
2. Make at least 50 even equally sized smears from this confirmed 1+ sample, and air dry
3. Heat fix
4. On each slide write the positive control batch number and serial number
within the batch
5. Check the number of AFB:
• Randomly select six smears from this batch
• Stain and carefully count the AFB
6. Start a separate page in your logbook for quality control of staining solutions
7. Record the batch number and results for each of the six smears then calculate
the average number of AFB per smear length or per field
8. Store smears in a closed slide box labelled “Positive control smears”
Negative control smears
Make negative control smears from egg white diluted 5% in distilled water.
1. To assist focusing mix with a little sputum or saliva (containing cells)
2. After staining check a few smears to make sure there is no contamination
with AFB
3. Make at least 50 even equally sized smears from this sample, and air dry
4. Heat fix
5. On each slide write the negative control batch number and serial number
within the batch
6. Store smears in a closed slide box labelled “Negative control smears”
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Quality Assurance Page 79
Appendices
Quality Assurance
Testing solutions
To test the performance of a freshly prepared solution stain and examine:
• Two positive control smears stained once and
• Two negative control smears stained three times
The other solutions required can also be those already in routine use.
1. Stain negative smears three times to check for environmental mycobacteria
• Only repeated staining makes these contaminants visible
2. Examine control smears carefully for:
• Number and intensity of AFB colour
• Complete de-colourisation of background
• Absence of crystals and primary stain coloured artefacts
3. Compare your count with the number of AFB expected for the batch of
positive control smears
• There should be no negative or very low counts
• AFB should show strong, solid colour
4. Accept the batch if it passes on all these points
Unsatisfactory results
1. Check the preparation technique, the quantities and reagents used:
• If results are uncertain, stain a few more control smears making sure your
technique is correct
2. Accept the batch if results are good
3. If results are again unsatisfactory:
• Discard the bad batch of staining solution
• Record the reason for rejection
• Prepare fresh solution and perform QC
Keep accurate QC records in the logbook for all solutions prepared. Good records
serve as an important reference to defend against possible complaints.
Page 80 Quality Assurance
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Appendices
Quality Assurance
Monitoring
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are useful for internal and external evaluation of
AFB-microscopy quality. They should be calculated monthly or quarterly from the
Laboratory Register counts, and the results recorded in a chart.
Each laboratory is responsible for calculating its KPIs.
Monitoring trends within the laboratory should alert staff to identify a shift from
normal patterns. Values that are too high or low may indicate a problem, however the
acceptable range depends on the setting.
The TB Programme should collect individual laboratory KPIs and compare them
across the laboratory network. This allows each laboratory to compare their
performance with similar laboratories in the same area.
Reporting the data
Negative Scanty 1+ 2+ 3+ Total positive or scanty Total smears
Suspect
smears
a
b
c
d
e
f=(b+c+d+e)
g=(a+f)
Follow-up
smears
h
i
j
k
l
m=(i+j+k+l)
n=(h+m)
Calculations
Workload % positive suspect smears % positive follow-up smears % low positive suspect smears g+n
f/g
m/n
(b+c)/f
Plot KPI’s monthly or quarterly to obtain a trend line.
Plotting may not be effective if denominators (totals) are very small.
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
Quality Assurance Page 81
Appendices
Quality Assurance
TB suspects – % of smear positive specimens
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
E
M
A
X
E
L
P
0%
2012/Q1 2012/Q2 2012/Q3 2012/Q4 2013/Q1 2013/Q2 2013/Q3 2013/Q4
Target values
Laboratories should aim for:
• TB suspects – about 10% positives
• Follow-ups – about 5-10% positives
• Low positive suspect smears – about 30-50% of all positive suspect smears
EQA
EQA of AFB-microscopy commonly includes rechecking a randomly selected subset of
routine smears by an external agency. For EQA to be effective technicians should keep all
smears until the subset of smears has been selected and removed for rechecking.
Leave a space for
second sample
The EQA process
When preparing slides for examination:
• Label all slides clearly with the LN and sample number
• Let oil soak into absorbent paper overnight after reading
• Store in numerical sequence leaving a space for the smear of the second
sample
• Never write results on the slide
After the subset of routine smears has been selected for EQA and removed for
rechecking, the remaining slides can be discarded.
Reuse the slide racks to start a new collection of routine slides. Store slides in
numerical order leaving a space for the smear of the second sample.
Page 82 Quality Assurance
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
References
Appendices
Angra P, Becx-Bleumink M, Gilpin C, Joloba M, Jost K, Kam KM, Kim SJ, Lumb R,
Mitarai S, Ramsay A, Ridderhof J, Rieder HL, Selvakumar N, van Beers S, van Cleeff M,
Van Deun A, Vincent V. Ziehl-Neelsen staining: strong red on weak blue, or weak red under
strong blue? Int J Tuberc Lung Dis 11: 1160-1161, 2007
Aziz MA, Ba F, Becx-Bleumink M, Bretzel G, Humes R, Iademarco MF, Kim SJ,
Lamothe F, Paramasivan CN, Ridderhof J, Sloutsky A, Van Deun A, Shah KV,
Weyer K. External quality assessment for AFB smear microscopy, Washington,
DC:Association of Public Health Laboratories, 2002
CDC/IUATLD/GLI/APHL. Ventilated Workstation Manual for AFB Smear
Microscopy: Manufacturing, Validation and User Guide. 2011
http://www.aphl.org/aphlprograms/global/Documents/GH_2011July_VentilatedWork
stationGuidance.pdf
International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. Technical guide: Sputum
Examination for Tuberculosis by Direct Microscopy in Low Income Countries. 2000
Van Deun A, Aung KJM, Hamid Salim A, Gumusboga M, Nandi P, Hossain MA.
Methylene blue is a good background stain for tuberculosis light-emitting diode
fluorescence microscopy. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis 14:1571-1575, 2010
Van Deun A, Hossain MA, Gumusboga M, Rieder HL. Ziehl-Neelsen staining: theory
and practice. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis 12:108-110, 2008
World Health Organization. Laboratory services in tuberculosis control. Microscopy.
Part II 1998. WHO/TB/98.258
http://www.who.int/entity/tb/publications/who_tb_98_258/en/index.html
World Health Organization. Policy statement: Same-day diagnosis of tuberculosis by
microscopy. 2011. WHO/HTM/TB/2011.7
http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2011/9789241501606_eng.pdf
World Health Organization. Policy statement: Fluorescent light-emitting diode (LED)
microscopy for diagnosis of tuberculosis. 2011. WHO/HTM/TB/2011.8
http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2011/9789241501613_eng.pdf
World Health Organization. Global tuberculosis report 2012. WHO/HTM/TB/2012.6
http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/75938/1/9789241564502_eng.pdf
World Health Organization. Tuberculosis laboratory biosafety manual. 2012
WHO/HTM/TB/2012.11
http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/77949/1/9789241504638_eng.pdf
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
References Page 83
Appendices
Patient information
• Your doctor/nurse has sent you to the laboratory because they suspect that you
may have the symptoms of tuberculosis (TB)
• To diagnose TB two sputum specimens are needed and they will be collected:
1. At first presentation
2. Next morning before breakfast
• Collect specimens in the open air
• Good quality specimens from the lungs are required not saliva or nasal secretions
• Rinse your mouth out with bottled water if you have recently eaten, or if you have dentures (remove them first)
7
P
Please cover your
mouth when coughing!
From the lungs
Not the nose or mouth
1
2
3
Repeat 1 and 2
If dentures are present,
remove them and rinse
mouth with bottled water.
4
5
Screw
the lid on
tightly
Page 84 Patient information
1. Take a deep breath in
2. Then breathe out hard
3. Do the same again
4.On the third time, cough deeply
from your chest
5. Place the open container close to your mouth to collect the sputum
You may be asked to try again for a
better specimen
Laboratory Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
by Sputum Microscopy
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