Barer, M. R., & Bogosian, G. (2004). Letter to the Editor: The viable but nonculturable concept, bacteria in urine samples, and Occam's Razor. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 42, 5434-5435.

This letter discusses a controversial issue surrounding the terminology used to describe bacteria in urine samples. While an academic discourse is the central issue in the letter, a simpler matter of importance to drug testing is raised.

Since bacterial contamination alters the original volumes of original substances in urine samples over time (of concern to athletes is that substances grow in their presence, inflating detected drug levels), the possibility of decontaminating urine samples from bacterial presence upon collection should be considered.

Implication. Typically, the response of drug-testing agencies is that this procedure is "too costly". Consequently, athletes will continue to be threatened with false positive tests because of the failure of testing agencies to follow procedures (in this case reducing urine bacterial contamination and killing actual bacteria in the urine sample) that are recommended by the medical and health professions. The validity of drug testing in sports is reduced because of the expedient parsimony of the threat-driven drug-testing organizations in sport.

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