In the late 1800s, the first clinical microbiology laboratories were organized to diagnose infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, typhoid fever, malaria, intestinal parasites, syphilis, gonorrhea, and diphtheria. Between 1860 and 1900, microbiologists such as Pasteur, Koch, and Gram developed the techniques for staining and the use of solid media for isolation of microorganisms that are still used in clinical laboratories today. Microbiologists continue to look for the same organisms that these laboratorians did, as well as a whole range of others that have been uncovered in the twentieth century, for example, Legionella, viral infections, nontuberculosis add-fast bacteria, and fungal infections. Microbiologists work in public health laboratories, hospital laboratories, reference or independent laboratories, and physidan office laboratories (POLs). Depending on the level of service of each facility, the type of testing differs, but in general a microbiologist will perform one or more of the following functions:
This chapter presents an overview of issues involved in infectious disease diagnostic testing. Many of these issues are covered in detail in separate chapters, which are ated.
Was this article helpful?