Anaerobic bacteria, alone or with aerobic organisms, are commonly involved in the pathogenesis of aspiration pneumonia, primary lung abscess, and pleural empyema. Failure to collect, transport, and culture infectious materials by appropriate anaerobic techniques may forfeit the diagnosis of anaerobic pleuropulmonary infection. Transtracheal aspiration of bronchial secretions circumvents contamination of bronchopulmonary exudates by members of the indigenous anaerobic oropharyngeal flora. It is imperative that a Gram stained smear of each specimen be obtained, so that the efficiency and accuracy of culture results can be compared with the microscopic examination, and so that the physician immediately has a preliminary idea of the nature of the pleuropulmonary pathogens.
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