Q. What do gram-positive cocci, gram-negative rods and cocci in my sputum culture mean?

Answered by
Dr. Bn Bhagat
and medically reviewed by Dr. Infanteena Marily
This is a premium question & answer published on Jul 15, 2021

Hi doctor,

I have been feeling unwell for months, coughing up thick white grey sputum with glue-like stick bubbles. My sputum lab results say I have many gram-positive cocci, few gram-negative rods, rare gram-negative cocci. I do not know what these results mean. Please guide me.



Welcome to

Can you please send the microbiology lab report of sputum to guide you better?


Thank you doctor,

I do not know how to do that, but this is how it appears.

Study result: Narrative your value-many gram-positive cocci, few gram-negative rods, rare gram-negative cocci, and the heading is called gram stain.



Welcome back to

You have to attach the report to the option available while sending.

Let me guide you based on the information you have provided.

These are bacteria that are found in your sputum.

These positive and negative word means the ability of bacteria to stained with gram stain.

It helps the clinician to guide with the appropriate antibiotic treatment.

Have you done an antibiotic susceptibility test of the sputum?

Thank you doctor for the reply,

I am coughing a lot. I do not feel well and have a headache.

Doctor does not seem to be worried. Is this something I should be concerned about?



Welcome to

I suggest you take antibiotics for your cough as it is evident that your sputum report has shown the presence of bacteria, mainly gram-positive cocci, with others too.

You have to visit your treating doctor to diagnose your condition through medical history, relevant investigations needed, and local examination of the chest for proper medications and treatment.

Thank you doctor,

Kindly let me know if it is something that needs treatment. My doctor does not seem to be worried. I am feeling unwell and have a headache. Is this result something I should take action on or just not worry?

Thank you.



Welcome back to

The presence of bacteria in the sputum is not usual.

Your sputum test report showed the presence of bacteria(both positive and negative, as you have mentioned).

Clinically also you are not feeling well and have a headache.

Your treating doctor knows your relevant medical history regarding your condition. Therefore, he would be in a better position to guide regarding this.


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