Sample Guide

Which Collection Kit is the Right Fit?

Finding the right collection kit can be challenging. This guide will help you find what kit is best for you, your family, or your patients.

There are 10 different collection kits offered with various advantages and disadvantages:

  • Urine
  • Fecal
  • Swab (oral, throat, nasal vaginal, skin)
  • Sputum
  • Blood Plasma
  • Tissue
  • Expressed Prostate Secretions (EPS)
  • Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF)
  • Synovial fluid
  • Breast milk

Choosing the right collection kit is key to finding the source of possible infection; particular care must be taken when considering a sample type based on symptoms, source of symptoms, and general Aperiomics recommendations.

If you need a sample tested that is not listed here, just give us a call and we can work with you to determine if and how the sample can be collected.

If the infectious agent isn’t in the sample, we can’t find it. Choosing the right sample should not be done hastily, do NOT fall back on blood plasma except when appropriate.

Blood Plasma(Not Offered Internationally)

  • Who can collect? A Phlebotomist, nurse, or Health Care Provider can collect this sample.

  • How to collect? A phlebotomist draws 6+mL blood into a sterile vacutainer. ~3 mL of plasma is then put into the Aperiomics collection tube.

  • What we are looking for? Examples include, but are not limited to bacteremia, general systemic infections, some vector-borne infection, possibly chronic fatigue syndrome.

  • Why choose this kit? Select this collection kit if you are thought to have a blood-borne infection when there are no other sites for sample collection. If you do not have specific or targeted symptoms, blood plasma is the best place to start. Deep tissue massage or other vigorous activity is highly recommended just before the blood draw.

  • Priority: Less recommended sample type due to very dilute amounts of microorganisms circulating in human blood at any given time shy of sepsis. Answers may also be less actionable due to not knowing the source of infection.

Breast Milk

  • Who can collect? A Health Care Provider or you should collect this sample.

  • How to collect? This sample must be collected by expressing breast milk into a sterile container.

  • What we are looking for? A few examples include but are not limited to unusual mammary gland inflammation or unusual discharge.

  • Why choose this kit? Select this collection kit if your primary symptoms are associated with mammary glands.

  • Priority: Moderately recommended sample type due to typically clear and actionable results, though clinical context is still developing.

Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF)

  • Who can collect? A Health Care Provider must collect this sample.

  • How to collect? This sample must be collected via a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) taken by a clinician. 1 mL of sample must be collected and deposited in the Aperiomics collection tube.

  • What we are looking for? A few examples include but are not limited to chronic severe headaches, encephalitis, meningitis, severe psychological symptoms, chronic seizures or other signs of CSF infection.

  • Why choose this kit? Select this collection kit only if your primary symptoms are neurological in nature or affecting the central nervous system.

  • Priority: Least recommended sample type due to being more dangerous to collect, as well as lower microorganism count in the sample. The role of microorganisms in the central nervous system are not yet fully understood.

Expressed Prostate Secretion (EPS)

  • Who can collect? A Health Care Provider should collect this sample.

  • How to collect? This sample must be collected by stimulating the prostate through a prostate massage via the anus. The prostate secretions will collect in the urethra and should be deposited into the sample collection tube by voiding a small amount of urine. Semen samples are different and will not yield strong results.

  • What we are looking for? A few examples include but are not limited to inflamed prostate with suspicion of infection.

  • Why choose this kit? Select this collection kit if your primary symptoms are associated with enlarged prostate with evidence of infection.

  • Priority: Moderately recommended sample type due to typically clear and actionable results and strong clinical context.

Urine

  • Who can collect? You or your Health Care Provider can collect this sample.

  • How to collect? First-morning urination in a sterile urine cup.

  • What we are looking for? A few examples include but are not limited to Urinary Tract Infection, burning or urgency of urination, BK/JC virus detection.

  • Why choose this kit? Select this collection kit if your primary symptoms are associated with your bladder, kidneys, or general lower urinary tract.

  • Priority: Strongly recommended sample type due to the easily actionable answers and clinical relevance.

Fecal

  • Who can collect? You or your health care provider can collect this sample.

  • How to collect? On toilet paper or in a sterile bowl.

  • What we are looking for? Unusual microbes in the lower gastrointestinal tract (Anus, rectum, colon, lower abdominal issues). Frequently patients will be suffering from chronic and/or periodic diarrhea.

  • Why choose this kit? Select this collection kit if your primary symptoms are associated with your lower gastrointestinal tract (Anus, rectum, colon, lower abdominal issues).

  • Priority: Moderately recommended sample type due to the complexity of the samples and fewer clinically actionable answers.

Sputum

  • Who can collect? You or your health care provider can collect this sample.

  • How to collect? Cough up phlegm from your lungs and spit into the container.

  • What we are looking for? A few examples include but are not limited to infections of the respiratory system, significant mold exposure, unusual phlegm, or chronic cough.

  • Why choose this kit? Select this collection kit if your primary symptoms are associated with your respiratory system, coughing, asthma, or you have trouble breathing.

  • Priority: Strongly recommended sample type due to the well-studied clinical context around lung and throat infections leading to actionable answers.

General Swab

  • Who can collect? You or your health care provider can collect this sample.

  • How to collect? Rub the swab firmly on the area being sampled. The swab should be rotated to cover the entire surface of the swab.

  • What we are looking for? A few examples include, but are not limited to, infection of wounds leading to secretions and oozing (weeping), scalp infections (fungal ringworm, Folliculitis), dental issues, environmental swabs, and deep nasal swabs for chronic sinus issues. If there is a suspected infection under a scab, the swab kit can be used to collect the infection under the scab.

  • Why choose this kit?  Look at the specialized swab tabs for more information.

  • Priority: Strongly recommended sample type depending on where the sample was taken from. Vaginal, mouth/gingival, skin, soil, and nasal microbiomes have high clinical context.

Deep Nasal Swab

  • Who can collect? You or your health care provider can collect this sample.

  • How to collect? Rub the swab firmly in the nasal cavity area, inserting the swab ~3 inches into the nostril. The swab should be rotated to cover the entire surface of the swab.

  • What we are looking for? A few examples include but are not limited to frequent or chronic nasal infections, unusual discharge, or general sinus irritation.

  • Why choose this kit? Select this collection kit if your primary symptoms are associated with the nasal cavity, nares, or sinuses.

  • Priority: Strongly recommended sample type due to clear answers in cases of infection and highly studied clinical context of the nasal cavity infections in general.

Oral Swab

  • Who can collect? You or your health care provider can collect this sample.

  • How to collect? Rub the swab firmly on the oral area being sampled. The swab should be rotated to cover the entire surface of the swab.

  • What we are looking for? A few examples include but are not limited to lesions, sores, general dental issues, unusually bad breath.

  • Why choose this kit? Select this collection kit if your primary symptoms are associated with the mouth.

  • Priority: Strongly recommended sample type due to highly actionable answers and high clinical context.

Skin/Dermal Swab

  • Who can collect? You or your health care provider can collect this sample.

  • How to collect? Rub the swab firmly on the skin area being sampled. The swab should be rotated to cover the entire surface of the swab.

  • What we are looking for? A few examples include but are not limited to infection of wounds leading to secretions and oozing (weeping), scalp infections (fungal ringworm, Folliculitis), unusual skin conditions possibly associated with infection. If there is a suspected infection near a scab, the swab kit can be used to collect the infection under the removed scab.

  • Why choose this kit? Select this collection kit if your primary symptoms are associated with infected skin wounds.

  • Priority: Strongly recommended sample type due to clinical context and actionable answers concerning infected wounds and other areas.

Throat Swab

  • Who can collect? You or your health care provider can collect this sample.

  • How to collect? Rub the swab firmly on the throat area being sampled. The swab should be rotated to cover the entire surface of the swab.

  • What we are looking for? A few examples include but are not limited to sore throat, tonsillitis, unusually bad breath.

  • Why choose this kit? Select this collection kit if your primary symptoms are associated with issues of the throat.

  • Priority: Strongly recommended sample type due to actionable answers and high clinical context.

Vaginal Swab

  • Who can collect? You or your health care provider can collect this sample.

  • How to collect? Inserting and rotating the swab inside the vaginal space. The swab should be rotated to cover the entire surface of the swab.

  • What we are looking for? A few examples include but are not limited to vaginal irritation, unusual discharge or odor, pain during or after intercourse, suspected STD, or other potential infections.

  • Why choose this kit? Select this collection kit if your primary symptoms are associated with any issues associated with the vagina.

  • Priority: Strongly recommended sample type due to easily actionable answers and highly studied clinical context of this area.

Synovial Fluid

  • Who can collect? A Health Care Provider must collect this sample.

  • How to collect? This sample must be collected via a syringe directly extracting the synovial fluid from the joint.

  • What are we looking for? A few examples include but are not limited to chronic joint pain or inflamed joint. We are not looking for strictly autoimmune disorders such as some arthritis, though such disorders may be caused or worsened by infection.

  • Why choose this kit? Select this collection kit if your primary symptoms are associated with joint pain and there is fluid on the joint.

  • Priority: Strongly recommended due to easily actionable answers and high clinical relevance.

Tissue

  • Who can collect? A health care provider must perform internal or external biopsies or scrapings.

  • How to collect?  Every biopsy is up to the protocols and specifications provided by your health care provider. We require a tissue sample the size of a pea or larger in most cases.

  • What we are looking for? A few examples include, but are not limited to wound, skin, bone, or tissue infections. Infected tissue collected from internal organs (gall bladder, endometriosis, fluid secretions) as well as any biological biopsy. Scabs are not a good application.

  • Why choose this kit? Select this collection kit if your primary symptoms are associated with abnormally infected tissues or symptoms related to unusual organ function. Dental tissue is also a good use.

  • Priority: Moderately recommended depending on the type of sample collected.

RNA Option

Who can collect? Varies. This option is available for every sample type and can be specially requested BUT…

What is the RNA option? Why does it matter?

Some viruses contain only RNA (no DNA), such as influenza, most common cold viruses, hepatitis, HIV, polio, measles, and more. If you are looking for one of these viruses, you must request RNA sequencing on your order form.

Priority: Circumstantially recommended. Less recommended overall.

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