Medical professionals often have to quickly diagnose a patient’s condition, or there may be a need to carefully monitor a disease, detect a patient’s risk for developing a certain condition, or determine what medications or treatments will likely work best for patients. We provide access to a fully equipped molecular bacteriology and virology laboratory and offer related testing that can provide the answers needed to make well-informed decisions.
Molecular bacteriology refers to the understanding of how various forms of bacteria behave at the molecular, cellular, and environmental level. The purpose of the bacterial testing we do is identify various bacteria strains in the early stage of an illness, disease, or infection. For instance, the early detection and treatment of bacteria-based conditions such as Lyme disease, cholera, pneumonia, and botulism is often critical.
Virology refers to the study of viruses. For diagnostic and testing purposes, our focus is on the disease-producing properties of various viruses. Virus-based illnesses, disease, and conditions can range from different strains of influenza and common childhood illnesses often prevented with vaccinations such as mumps, measles, and rubella to shingles and viral forms of pneumonia, meningitis, and hepatitis. Viral diseases are contagious, making early detection even more critical. However, most viral infections are self-limiting in healthy people, meaning such infections are usually short in duration.
Multiplex PCR Technology
Multiplex PCR (polymerase chain reaction) is a technique that can amplify multiple targets in a PCR experiment. It’s a time-saving testing method that can be used to test for up to 17 viruses and 3 bacteria. It’s an example of one type of comprehensive panel test we can perform to provide fast, accurate results when it’s suspected that a patient has an upper respiratory illness or infection of unknown origin.
Avoiding Issues with Antibiotics
Some illnesses can be either bacterial or viral in nature. Knowing what specifically is causing a patient’s symptoms can avoid possible issues with the overuse of antibiotics, a growing concern within the medical community. While antibiotics can be effective on bacteria-based infections, viral diseases are not treatable with antibiotics. The overuse of antibiotics can also result in forms of bacteria that are resistant to currently available medications.
Bacterial and Viral Infection Differences
Bacteria are single-celled organisms that surround the fluid inside of a cell. Some are harmless and some are helpful. Surprisingly, only one percent of bacteria actually cause diseases in humans. Viruses, on the other hand, are thinner and smaller than bacteria. Viruses have core genetic material that’s either DNA or RNA and they need a host (a cell to attach to) in order to survive. They can also turn normal cells into cancerous cells. Most viruses cause diseases, which is not true of most bacteria.
Samples that will be used for bacteria and virus detection are typically in the form of a blood or urine sample. A culture test of tissue may also be used to identify whether an infection is viral or bacterial in nature.
We offer an assortment of bacterial and viral test options that incorporate proven methods with some of the latest technology to produce prompt, detailed results. Test results, presented in easily accessible reports, can be used to determine what’s going on with patients and what can be done to make them better. Results for many tests we perform are available within 24 hours.