Login processing...

Trial ends in Request Full Access Tell Your Colleague About Jove
JoVE Science Education
Coronavirus / COVID-19 Procedures

This content is Free Access.


COVID-19 / Coronavirus Outbreak: How to take blood cultures


In pandemic times, medical staff is becoming a key resource in fighting the infection. To achieve the best medical care, relevant techniques and procedures have to be taught to medical staff while reducing the risk of infection. Blood cultures play a key role in an effective anti-infective therapy regime. As COVID-19 patients develop bacterial superinfections in the damaged pulmonary tissue, using the correct technique to obtain blood culture samples and following anti-infective therapy are important. This video shows the required materials and correct way to obtain blood cultures. 


  1. Prepare the needed materials: Blood culture sets consisting of aerobic, anaerobic, and fungus bottles (2-3 sets); 20mL syringes; sterile needles; and disinfection spray.
  2. Fill the syringes (one for each set) with 24 mL of blood, preferably under sterile conditions.
  3. Uncover the bottle tops and disinfect them with alcohol. Wait until the bottle is dry before beginning the injection.
  4. Inject 8 mL of blood into each bottle. To reduce contamination, do so in the following order: fungus, anaerobic, then aerobic bottle. No air should be injected into the bottles. Use the same needle for one set. Mix the bottles after injection.
  5. Repeat the injection for each set of culture bottles.
  6. Label the bottles, one label for each bottle.
  7. Transport each set of bottles in a transport bag. For COVID-19 patients, mark the transport bags as infective and send them to the microbiology laboratory.

Dear colleagues, in order to obtain appropriate blood cultures, ideally, two blood culture sets should be utilized. Each set consists of a bottle of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria and fungus. Additionally, two sterile needles and two syringes will be required. Each of the syringes used here contains 24 milliliters of sterile blood obtained by vascular puncture. 8 milliliters of blood are injected into each bottle. One syringe is sufficient for a set. The colored bottle top caps can be disposed of. The uncovered bottle top is sterile and should not be touched. The bottle tops may be disinfected with alcohol-containing disinfectant to ensure sterility.

No air should be injected into the blood culture bottles. Importantly, in order to reduce contamination of the anaerobic blood culture bottle, this should be filled as second. The needle must be attached to the syringe using aseptic technique. The fungus culture bottle must be filled first. When the needle penetrates the membrane, ensure that the needle does not have direct contact with the disinfectant as there is a risk that the contained blood could be contaminated, in turn, killing any pathogens. The fungus blood culture bottle is filled with 8 milliliters of blood. This bottle is now prepared.

The anaerobic blood culture bottle must now be filled using the same procedure as before. The membrane is penetrated and 8 milliliters of blood injected. The bottle is twisted once so that the contents are adequately mixed, and then placed to one side. The final 8 milliliters of blood are injected into the aerobic bacteria culture bottle. The first set is now complete.

The same procedure applies when preparing and utilizing the second set. Now it is important to label the sets of blood cultures appropriately. One complete set followed by the next. Which bottle is involved? In this case, the aerobic bacteria bottle. Then the sample site, in this case, a Shaldon catheter. One label per bottle is required, or a total of six labels. The transport bag is marked. Each set of cultures is placed in an individual transport bag. The samples are packed and sent on to the microbiology laboratory. With COVID-19 patients, the transport bags should be marked explicitly so as to make all colleagues aware.

Thank you very much.


No conflicts of interest declared.



COVID-19 Coronavirus Outbreak Blood Cultures Aerobic Bacteria Anaerobic Bacteria Fungus Sterile Needles Syringes Vascular Puncture Bottle Top Caps Alcohol-containing Disinfectant Contamination Aseptic Technique Membrane Penetration

Get cutting-edge science videos from JoVE sent straight to your inbox every month.

Waiting X
Simple Hit Counter