Interpretation of gram-stained sputa containing Moraxella (Branhamella) catarrhalis

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Ainsworth, Samuel M.
Nagy, Stephanie B.
Morgan, Loretta A.
Miller, Glendon R.
Perry, Jack L.

Journal of clinical microbiology. 1990 Nov; 28(11): 2559-60.


Sputum specimens culture positive for Moraxella (Branhamella) catarrhalis were Gram stained with three decolorizer solutions (slow, 95% ethyl alcohol; intermediate, 1:1 ratio of 95% ethyl alcohol and acetone; and fast, acetone alone) for 5, 10, 20, and 30 s. Optimal results were obtained with acetone alone after 10 s or with a 1:1 mixture of acetone and ethanol after 20 s. Inadequate decolorization of M. catarrhalis in sputa is likely if the decolorization solution and exposure time are not optimal and may contribute to underreporting of this organism.

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