Infections caused by bacteria or fungi require antimicrobial treatment, which varies depending on the specific infective organism. Acute infections result in the production of pus, which is commonly thick yellow-green in colour and may have an unpleasant smell. When an infection is seen or suspected, a sample is therefore sent for laboratory analysis.
After inserting a sterile plastic speculum into the ear hole, a fine sterile cotton bud probe is immersed in the pus and immediately stored in preservative for transfer to the laboratory. Examination under the microscope (microscopy) by the Microbiologist enables the type of infective organism to be diagnosed. Subsequently, growing the organism on a special gel (culture) and applying various drugs allows the specific antimicrobial agent required to kill the organisms causing the infection to be determined.