Laboratory: Clinical Microbiology
Test Name:
Test Code: None
Clinical Information:
Test Indications:
Skin smears are used as part of the management of a patient with Hansen's Disease (leprosy).

The recommendations from the National Hansen's Disease Program to which the smears are referred recommend that initial skin smears be taken from 6 “routine sites” (both earlobes, elbows, and knees) and several typical lesions from the patient.  In order to evaluate progress, repeat smears are obtained from 3 to 4 of the most active sites, based on the initial testing, annually or at another time period determined by the clinician.

Patient Preparation Instructions:
The procedure for obtaining skin-slits for smears is detailed at
A chart for the documentation of the sites of the sample collection is available at
Collection Devices:
Pre-cleaned slides (cleaned with 70% alcohol, acetone or alcohol-acetone)
Specimen Required: Skin slit smears - Skin-slits, typically 6+ initially and 3 - 4 for follow-up
Reference Values:
The results are reported on a 0 (none found) to 6+ (very numerous) semi-logarithmic scale.
Weekdays (Monday - Friday). Samples to be sent to the National Hansen's Disease Program are to be referred to the Health Sciences Centre for shipment.
See Also:
More Information:
Specimen Handling:
Air-dried slides should be submitted to the lab in protective slide holders.
Ensure samples that are being sent to a referral laboratory are packaged in accordance with Transport of Dangerous Goods recommendations for diagnostic samples.