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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Technical Preparation of Bone Marrow Specimens for Histological Assessment. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Bacterial and Fungal Stains

Bacterial and fungal stains can be used to identify infectious diseases present in the bone marrow, such as mycobacteria or fungal infections including histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis, and coccidioidomycosis.
A Fite stain may be preferred over Ziehl-Neelsen or Kinyoun methods because the Fite stain will pick up atypical Mycobacterium (eg, Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare) in addition to the more typical mycobacterial organisms (eg, Mycobacterium tuberculosis).
Bacterial stains, such as Brown-Hopps, allow some classification of bacteria into gram-positive or gram-negative. However, classification beyond that is difficult microscopically.
In contrast, a more specific diagnosis for fungal organisms is possible using common special stains, such as Grocott's methenamine silver (GMS) and periodic acid-Schiff (PAS). Based on the morphology of the fungus, organisms such as Histoplasma-like organisms, can be distinguished from Candida, Aspergillus, and Mucor.