Smears and biopsy Culturing the organism is not routinely performed. Laboratory diagnosis is made by analyzing smears obtained from tissue or biopsy samples show intracellular Donovan bodies within large mononuclear cells. Remove debris from the ulcer by rolling a cotton tipped swab across the lesion gently to minimize bleeding. Avoid using saline which may limit the material collected. Roll a cotton tipped swab firmly across the surface of the ulcer without causing bleeding. Then roll the swab across a slide. The slide is air dried and stained by a rapid Giemsa method using eosin and thiazine solutions or pinacyanol. Biopsy specimens are best stained with either Giemsa or silver rather than hematoxylin and eosin. Histological changes show epithelial proliferation and a heavy inflammatory infiltrate of plasma cells and neutrophils. The histological distinction between squamous cell carcinoma and donovanosis may be difficult.