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Clinical Microbiology

Diagnosis of Infections by Bacteria, Viruses and Parasites

The Microbiology Laboratory provides a broad array of diagnostic tests used for diagnosis of infections caused by bacteria, viruses, and parasites by performing:

  • Blood cultures
  • Gram stains
  • Bacteriologic cultures
  • Antibiotic susceptibility testing

Antibiotic Susceptibility Testing

Antibiotic susceptibility testing guides clinicians in the choice of appropriate antibiotic therapy.  The availability of rapid and accurate antibiotic susceptibility testing methods provides crucial information in an age when many organisms have developed antibiotic resistance.

Parasite Detection

Parasite detection is performed using both light and fluorescent microscopy.

Viral Identification

Virus identification is accomplished using tissue culture, immunofluorescence, and molecular diagnostics techniques.  A variety of immunoassays are used to measure the humoral antibody response to infectious diseases and to detect microbial antigens in the bloodstream. 

Molecular Diagnostic Testing

Molecular diagnostic testing began in 1995 with the implementation of Chlamydia trachomatis detection by polymerase chain reaction (PCR).  Since this time, this diagnostic area has been rapidly expanding.

Viral Load Testing and Genotyping

Included among currently available assays are viral load testing for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and Cytomegalovirus, and HCV genotyping.

Qualitative PCR Testing

We also offer qualitative PCR testing for Neisseria gonorrheae detection and are in the process of converting most of our nucleic acid amplification assays to more advanced real time PCR technologies.

Contact Information

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215