Clinical Microbiology: Bugs & Drugs

When laboratories provide susceptibility reports to clinicians, they must decide whether to include minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) or to report categorical interpretations (such as susceptible or resistant) alone. In some cases knowing the MIC value can help doctors, but in other cases it may just be… TMI.
Summertime brings people closer to the great outdoors - and to arthropods that can spread disease! In this week's Bugs & Drugs, we emphasize the importance of a full patient history and provide resources on infections of leisure.
Bloodstream infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality, and identifying the causative organism(s) is critical. Can the most important step in this process really be as simple as collecting enough volume of blood for culture? Let’s discuss some of the evidence, and the role of the clinical microbiology laboratory in this important testing process.
Several of the American Society for Clinical Pathology's "40 Under Forty"  include young, successful ASM members, and we here at Bugs & Drugs reached out to ask them about their research and careers. 
Monday, 26 June 2017 09:33

C. difficile—Innocent until Proven Guilty?

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Accurate diagnosis of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is challenging for all involved—clinicians, laboratorians, and patients—leaving everyone frustrated.  Current approaches to diagnosis of CDI prioritize either detection of the organism itself, or detection of toxins produced by the organism.  In this blog post, Nira Pollock explores how these diagnostic strategies differ in approach and perspective regarding the guilt of the suspect—should C. difficile be considered “innocent until proven guilty,” or “guilty until proven innocent”?
Point-of-care diagnostic testing is quickly advancing, in part due to advances in molecular testing. Our latest Bugs & Drugs post provides resources for keeping up-to-date with the latest molecular tests, including infection characteristics such as antibiotic resistance.
The ever-changing CLSI recommendations for colistin testing (and one lab director’s endless frustration with this!) are reviewed.
Next-generation sequencing techniques are quickly moving into the clinical microbiology lab. ASM provides a number of resources to help you learn best practices for their application and interpretation for infectious disease diagnoses.
Molecular technologies revolutionized microbiology as well as  medicine, patient care, infection control and prevention, and overall hospital operation.
Examining histology or microscopy images, combined with a patient history, can help clinicians provide a proper infectious disease diagnosis. Practice your diagnostic skills by viewing the Journal of Clinical Microbiology Photo Quiz and ASM Case Study resources in this week's Bugs & Drugs.
Monday, 24 April 2017 09:19

16S Alphabet Soup: A Quick Guide

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Broad-range bacterial 16S PCR and sequencing as a clinical diagnostic tool is quickly gaining in popularity. This post offers a quick refresher on the applications, limitations, and aliases of this test.
Collecting, transporting, and storing patient specimens plays a major role in infection diagnoses. ASM provides a number of resources regarding best practices and the latest research regarding specimen collection!
Clinical microbiology tests are not performed to satisfy the curiosity, but to serve patients. While technical performance comparisons will sometimes suffice for test evaluation, health outcome studies may be superior for determining the true value of a diagnostic test.  
The decreasing trend of surgical-site infections demonstrates the seriousness with which medical practitioners and clinical microbiologists are taking this issue. This post provides resources on prevention and diagnoses of surgery-related infections, including a specific case of infection due to contaminated heart-lung machines.
In the era of antimicrobial resistance, the introduction of a new antibiotic is an eagerly anticipated event. But when clinicians learn that antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) for the antibiotic is not yet available, they are often confused and frustrated. Find out why the introduction of AST lags behind antimicrobial development and approval and what can be done to accelerate the process.​
Scientists are searching for better antimicrobial therapies, diagnostic assays, and prevention tactics for the increasing issue of Clostridium difficile infection. This Hot Topics highlights ASM resources to stay up-to-date on the latest research.
Have you ever encountered an isolate of Staphylococcus that gave you seemingly discordant susceptibility results? You'd be lying if you said "no"! Learn how your lab can sort out staphylococcal susceptibility testing dilemmas.

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