Clinical Microbiology: Bugs & Drugs

Multiplex molecular gastrointestinal pathogen panels promise increased ease, speed, and throughput. But do these tests sometimes produce too many results? And what is lost when tests switch from culture-based to molecular methods?
In clinical microbiology, “intermediate” —the state of neither up nor down—means both “diagnostic uncertainty” AND “susceptible with increased exposures.” How can we cut one and not lose the other?
Monday, 05 February 2018 15:11

Lab testing – the money talk

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Bugs & Drugs discusses the delicate issue of clinical lab finances: both the lab and hospital leadership must connect the dots and determine what tests best fit the interests of the patients and the hospital.
What types of data can help a clinical microbiology lab improve their performance? The latest Hot Topic provides suggestions on measuring and analyzing data points to reduce the risk of error.
Diagnosis of diarrhea caused by parasites is an important service provided by the clinical laboratory, but testing stool using the ova and parasite (O&P) exam is complex and time consuming. Here, we review the O&P, its limitations, and how the clinical laboratory can help ensure the most effective use of this test.
Clinical microbiology labs often receive multiple specimens for periprosthetic joint infections. How many is enough?
Monday, 08 January 2018 16:16

January 2018 ASMClinMicro News Round-Up

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A new year brings new career-promoting events and ways to participate in the ASM clin micro community. We summarize the latest in the first Bugs & Drugs post of 2018!
Thursday, 14 December 2017 13:52

Best of Bugs & Drugs 2017

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2017 was a momentous year here at Clinical Microbiology: Bugs & Drugs, since this is the year that we launched! Here are the highlights of the first nine months of published posts!
Monday, 11 December 2017 14:37

Xenodiagnosis: Using a Pest as a Test

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Most diagnostic tests are performed on agar plates or in plastic bottles, tubes, or wells, but in the past certain elusive infections were identified by a decidedly more exotic method. This post explores the technique of xenodiagnosis, in which an animal (usually the vector that carries the disease of interest) is exposed to a patient’s blood and monitored to see if it develops the infection.
Toxoplasma gondii is a fantastically interesting parasite that you can find in a variety of places in the world and can end up in a variety of places inside of you!
Diagnostic tools are the backbone of many public health programs; we need them to assess the molecular characteristics and physiologies of potential pathogens. This week, Bugs & Drugs features our best diagnostic tools blog posts, with interviews, reference articles, and advice on how to implement these tools to increase public health.
Fosfomycin susceptibility testing is a challenge for laboratories. The testing intricacies for fosfomycin are discussed.
Monday, 06 November 2017 18:17

Considerations in point-of-care diagnostics

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How will point-of-care diagnostics change clinical microbiology? ASM provides resources with educational opportunities and important considerations on implementing evolving technology.
ASM provides resources to review nomenclature, susceptibilty testing, and transmission prevention of multidrug-resistant organisms
Monday, 23 October 2017 11:51

Point-of-Care Testing for Influenza

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“Do I have the flu?” Influenza point of care tests may be able to answer this question quickly. However, despite the simplicity and speed of these tests, they come with many “behind the scenes” considerations to be addressed prior to implementation. In this post, we review some significant technical, biological, and regulatory issues of influenza point-of-care testing.
Blood draw done without the gloves on is poor technique. Noncompliance to proper disinfection techniques of the draw site is the primary reason for blood culture contamination. Today's Bugs & Drugs post highlights the importance of updating staff on the whys and hows of preventing this contamination.
Monday, 09 October 2017 10:34

Non-culture based fungal diagnostic tests

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Timely diagnosis of fungal infections is sometimes impaired by the slow growth in culture or low yield of culture for certain organisms. Let’s discuss some of the non-culture based fungal diagnostic tests that are available in clinical microbiology laboratories.
Monday, 02 October 2017 15:40

The importance of antiseptics

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Antiseptics are found in both home and healthcare facilities and play an important role in infection prevention. We highlight a recent Applied and Environmental Microbiology study suggesting home use of antiseptics may contribute to MRSA spread and provide resources to review the mechanisms and applications of different chemical antiseptics.
Molecular techniques allow us to determine bacterial relatedness in ways previous generations couldn’t, and because of this, several species have been renamed or recategorized in recent years. However, this can cause chaos and miscommunication in the clinical lab! Here are three stories of recent taxonomical change suggestions and how they have been resolved.  
Anaerobic infections offer a unique set of challenges in diagnosing and antibiotic susceptibility testing. The most recent Hot Topic in Clinical Microbiology offers an opportunity to learn best practices in diagnosis of anaerobic infections. We also provide recent Journal of Clinical Microbiology resources to complement the presentation. 
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