Bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites identification is the first step of a targeted treatment.
Medical microbiology is concerned with microorganisms (such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites) which investigates for the presence of disease-causing microorganisms.
Specimens processed include urine, sputum, faeces, and swabs. These specimens are inoculated onto special culture media, on which bacteria and fungi can grow. Any disease-causing microorganisms that grow can then be identified and their susceptibility to antibiotics can be tested. The most effective antibiotic for the microorganism present can then be notified to the patient's doctor. Diseases that can be diagnosed in this way include urinary tract infections, food poisoning and meningitis.
Blood specimens can be tested for the presence of antibodies, which are produced by the body in response to infection by microorganisms. Diseases such as chickenpox and viral hepatitis can be diagnosed in this way. Microbial antigens, which are minute pieces of microorganisms, can also be detected in blood and urine specimens. Legionnaires Disease can be diagnosed using this technique.
Advice is provided to doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers on the investigation, treatment, prevention and control of infections. Additional areas involve control of outbreaks of infectious disease and dealing with the problems of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria.