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:
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
Can identify parasites and bacteria that cause disease, such as salmonella or hookworms
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 drugs. This culture and sensitivity test can help the doctor identify an appropriate medication 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.