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The Microbiology Department offers services for the isolation, detection, and the identification of bacteria, fungi, parasites, Chlamydia, and herpes simplex. The department is fully staffed Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.- 3:30 p.m. Staffing is reduced on weekends and holidays. The essential services are available 24 hours/day and include the following:

  • Plating of cultures
  • Stat gram stains
  • Wet preps
  • India ink preps
  • Blood culture collection and monitoring

To achieve accurate microbiology identification proper collection handling, and prompt transport of the specimens to the laboratory is essential. Please refer to individual listings for on site availability of culture requests. In addition, we have included information for the correct volume of specimen, proper collection technique, and the appropriate containers to use. Routine microbiology results should be available in 24-72 hours. Fungal, mycobacterial, and viral cultures require appreciably more time for identification.

The Microbiology Department also performs parasitology examinations on a variety of specimens such as stools, duodenal fluid, and blood. Again, please refer to the individual test descriptions for specific information prior to submitting a specimen for identification. Immunodiagnostic procedures such as DNA probe testing for GC/Chlamydia, and cryptococcal antigen detection are available on the premises. Immunofluorescent assays such as ANA testing are performed once daily by the Microbiology Department.

Specimens are examined for acceptability upon receipt. If unacceptable, the floor nurse or physician will be notified so that another specimen may be obtained. Criteria for acceptance will include proper labeling of the specimen and the container, time spent in transport, proper selection of transport media, and other significant factors that contribute to the success of the analysis.

The following results are telephoned immediately:

  • Positive blood cultures (monitored 24 hours/day)
  • Positive India ink preps
  • Positive cryptococcal antigen
  • Identification of Cryptococcus neoformans from cultures
  • All positive CSF smears and cultures
  • Identification of group B Streptococcus from newborns
  • Identification of Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, Yersinia, Vibrio, and E. coli 0157 from cultures
  • Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus
  • Methicillin-resistant Staph aureus
  • Positive C. difficile toxin assay from inpatients and nursing home patients
  • Positive gram stains from pleural, peritoneal, pericardial, joint, and synovial fluids