The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Reading and Reporting Gram Stained Direct Smears. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Properly Decolorized Smears

In a properly decolorized smear, background material and host cells (e.g., white blood cells and epithelial cells) stain pink or red, as illustrated in this image. The field that is shown is a good example of one appropriate for microscopic examination. Note that the stained material is only one cell thick; therefore, cells can easily be counted and identified.