Laboratory Investigation – Infectious Diseases

Laboratory tests might sort organisms directly (Eg, visually, using a microscope, developing the organism in culture) or indirectly (Eg, identifying antibodies to the organism). Some tests (Eg, Gram stain, routine aerobic culture) can sense a large variation of pathogens and are commonly done for many suspected infectious illnesses. However, since assured pathogens are lost on these tests, clinicians must be aware of the limitations of each test for each suspected pathogen. In such cases, clinicians should appeal tests precise for the suspected pathogen (Eg, special stains or culture media) or advice the laboratory of the suspected organism(s) so that it may select more specific tests.


  • Microscopy
  • Culture
  • Immunologic tests
  • Nucleic acid–based identification methods
  • Non-nucleic acid–based identification methods

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