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Search Health Information    Blood Culture

Blood Culture

A blood culture is a test on a sample of blood to check for bacteria, a fungus, or sometimes viruses in the bloodstream. The test may be done if a doctor suspects a blood infection. A blood culture may help determine the specific organism causing an infection and select the appropriate antibiotic to treat it.

Usually a blood culture is needed only if a person is severely ill. Blood cultures are commonly done when a person has a high fever or shaking chills that mean there may be an infection of the blood.

It usually takes between 1 and 3 days to get the results of a blood culture. But a blood culture to look for a fungus or virus can take weeks.

Last Revised: August 6, 2012

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Joseph O'Donnell, MD - Hematology, Oncology

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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