Viral Smear Kit


Step 1

In this kit, you are provided with 2 frosted-end slides in a cardboard folder, a wooden spatula, a sterile polyester fibber-tipped swab, a Cytology Non-Gyn form, and this set of instructions. Please also pick up a bottle of Cytology spray fixative.  A Thin Prep vial or SurePath vial for liquid collection is also available and is the preferred method of collection.

Step 2

Skin and mucosal lesions may be scraped, smeared on a slide, fixed immediately and sent to Cytology for the detection of viral (especially Herpes) and fungal infections. (Kit is not intended for microbiology culture, KOH or immunofluorescence).

Step 3

Viral inclusions and fungus are seen via routine pap stain; however, certain fungal smears usually require special stains.  Therefore, you must request examination for virus or fungus on the form.

Step 4

The preferred method of collection for viral inclusions is to place the collecting device in cytolyt and return to lab for processing. If collection device does not have a snap-off head than rotate in liquid collection fixative clockwise and counterclockwise to remove the entire cellular specimen.

Step 5

Print the complete patient information on the form and include insurance information. Complete the form for specimen type, date and for clinical history and diagnosis. Be sure to include the exact location and description of the lesion.

Step 6

Label all slides with patient’s name. Write on frosted side with pencil. Extra slides in folders are provided.

Step 7

For lesions which appear dry, apply wet compress for ½ hour before scraping. This not only makes the lesion softer for easier scraping, but also removes degenerated debris.

Step 8

If the lesion is blistered, remove the dome and scrape the margins of the ulcer or imprint on the slide. Visible fluid is usually unsatisfactory because it rarely contains viable cells.

Step 9

After removal of the crust, the ulceration should be energetically scraped with the wooden spatula or sterile swab. Use of spatula or swab is personal preference; however, the spatula will probably yield more cells.

Step 10

Scrapings should be immediately submersed in the cytolyt vial. Rotations in clockwise and counterclockwise directions are made, taking care to remove most of specimen into liquid fixative.

Step 11

If preferred method of collection cannot be done, scrapes should be quickly smeared on one slide and immediately sprayed with Cytology fixative. Two or three sprays are adequate. Hold spray bottle six inches from the slide. Then proceed with the second slide.

Step 12

Please submit at least 2 slides from the lesion, if possible. When a fungal lesion is suspected, one slide will be used for pap stain and another for fungal stain.

Step 13

Allow fixed slides to dry completely before closing the cardboard slide folder.

Step 14

Fold and wrap the Cytology form around the folder.

Step 15

Transport the smears and bottle of fixative directly to Cap-Lab Cytology department. To arrange for transportation of specimens call 517-372-5520.


Naib, Zuher, M.D. : Exfoliative Cytopathology, Second Edition, Little, Brown and Co., Boston, 1976.