What is microbiology?
Microbiology is the study of disease-causing microorganisms. Microbiology is responsible for identifying infectious agents in tissue, bone marrow, blood, urine, sputum, feces, cerebrospinal fluid, and other body fluids. The infectious agents can also be tested for sensitivity to certain antibiotics used to treat infections.
Microbiology uses various techniques to identify microorganisms, including the following:
Chemical, immunological, and genetic tests
Examination under a microscope
Microorganisms can include the following:
Common microbiology tests
|Blood culture||Can diagnose bacterial, fungal, or viral infections of the blood|
|Burn, tissue, and wound culture||Can identify disease-causing organisms in various tissues|
|Sputum culture and/or nasal swab||Can identify bacteria that cause upper and lower respiratory tract infections, such as pneumonia|
|Stool culture||Can identify parasites and bacteria that cause disease, such as salmonella or hookworms|
|Urine culture||Can identify disease-causing bacteria in the kidneys and urinary tract|
|Throat swab and/or culture||Often used to diagnose or rule out strep throat|
If the culture identifies an infection, the disease-causing microbe may be tested to determine its sensitivity to antibiotic or antimicrobial medicines. This culture and sensitivity test can help the healthcare provider identify an appropriate medicine to treat an infection.
Cultures may take 24 hours to 48 hours for results. Antibiotic susceptibility studies may take another 24 hours to 48 hours.