Microbiology: Infectious Diseases, Types, Tests, Diagnostics, & Control Procedure | Narayana Health


With Complete Automation of the Lab, our Microbiologists provides the Right Analysis for various samples and are best in their field.

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Why choose NH for Microbiology?

At Narayana Health, many of our laboratories are NABL & JCI accredited and provide 24/7 services. The Microbiology & Serology section processes over 500 samples on an average per day. The handling of such huge number of samples and maintaining low Turn Around Time (TAT) is achieved by complete automation of the lab. The BD BACTEC-FX Blood culture system is largest in Bangalore with a capacity to do 600 blood cultures simultaneously. Identification and sensitivity are carried out by Phoenix and Vitek 2 Compact Systems. Vitros 3600 with enhanced chemiluminescence and continuous operating capabilities enables exceptional assay performance with small sample volume requirements across a broad range of diseases (eg. HIV, HBsAg, HCV, etc.) The laboratory does over 25 different tests of serology ranging from 4th Generation ELISA to TORCH Panel, Widal and VDRL.

Narayana Health’s clinical microbiology laboratory employs world-class technology and standards for precise, accurate and rapid diagnosis of infectious diseases. It has a team of excellent and expert staff that support its functioning as a full-service microbiology hospital, which offers diagnostic services in the following areas.

  • Bacteriology
  • Molecular Microbiology
  • Virology
  • Special Microbiology/Serology
  • Parasitology
  • Mycobacteriology
  • Mycology

The Aerobic Bacteriology Section

  • Here, clinically significant microorganisms are isolated and identified from specimens so that antimicrobial susceptibility testing can be performed on them.
  • Blood cultures may also be carried out and continuously monitored for a seven-day incubation period.
  • Isolation and characterisation of clinically significant anaerobic bacteria is performed.

The Mycology Section

  • Identification is performed on yeast isolates
  • Identification of pathogenic moulds collected from specimens, including moulds causing wounds and systemic infections, dermatophytes, and systemic mycotic agents like Blastomyces dermatitidis.

The Parasitology Section

  • It offers diagnostic services for a wide range of parasitic infections.
  • Blood and stool specimens are submitted here for the diagnosis of malarial parasites and detection of pathogenic amoebae, flagellates, and identification of ova from the species of various nematodes, cestodes and trematodes.

The Virology Section

  • It helps in the accurate diagnosis of viral infections.
  • It offers chemiluminescence assay tests to detect several types of non-cultivable viral agents.
  • Molecular detection assays can be performed for influenza A and B viruses, SARS, COV-2

The Mycobacteriology Section

  • It helps in performing the isolation and identification of acid-fast organisms like Mycobacterium avium complex and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
  • It employs advanced methods to confirm and identify the growth of isolates and uses TRUE NAT to identify.

Interpreting Microbiology Results: Serology and Virology

Serology involves the examination of serum, a component of blood, to identify any evidence of infection, infection in the past as well as an individual’s level of immunity and susceptibility to infection. While bacteriology is reliant on living microorganisms, in serology, it doesn’t matter whether the microorganism is alive or not.

Samples are sent to a serology or molecular laboratory for several reasons. Some of them are –

  • Some organisms can’t be cultured, such as a virus or non-culturable bacteria like Chlamydia sp. or Treponema pallidum, Mycoplasma sp.
  • The patient may be on antibiotics preventing the culture of microorganisms. For instance, a patient with meningitis may be given Benzylpenicillin that stops the growth of N. meningitidis. However, the bacterium can be detected by the PCR.
  • The laboratory can help to determine the risk of contracting the infection after an individual comes in contact with an infectious microorganism. For example, a pregnant woman exposed to Chickenpox may be tested for Varicella Zoster Virus antibody.
  • Patients can be checked to see if they had an infection in the past or have developed immunity against it. For example, an individual who may have come in contact with blood contaminated with the Hepatitis B virus may have the presence of antibodies against the virus.
  • For examining a microorganism that can’t be detected through microscopy.

Generally, there are three categories of serology reports.

Antigen detection: It can detect acute infection by taking molecules from infected cells or fragments of the microorganisms that caused the infection. It is a cost-effective process and can usually deliver the result on the same day of receiving the sample.

Antibody detection: This report indicates how an individual responds to infection. Recent infection is indicated by IgM, while a past infection or immunity is indicated by IgG. The process doesn’t involve a high cost and the results can be generated on the same day of receiving the sample.

Molecular detection of nucleic acid or Polymerase Chain Reaction: Here, undetectable amounts of DNA or RNA in a microorganism is multiplied to a level that can be easily detected. It is usually used to detect acute infection, such as Enterovirus PCR in CSF. Moreover, it can also detect any past infection that has been reactivated, for example, CMV in HIV positive patients. This process is time and cost-intensive and also requires the intervention from specialist laboratory staff.

The microbiology laboratory receives all the samples for processing and diagnosis of the infection. Depending on the sample type and clinical details, the laboratory decides where the samples need to be sent for further processing.

Microbiology FAQs

What is Microbiology and why is it important?

Microbiology is the scientific study of microorganisms, which include viruses, bacteria and fungi. Microbiologists study the characteristics of these organisms using tools, like microscopes, genetics, and culturing. It is a fundamental understanding of how a cell works. The study of microbiology is an applied science that helps the healthcare and medicine sector widely to detect and diagnose disease. Samples of blood, bodily fluid and tissue are tested to establish whether there is an infection and what are its characteristics.

What are the branches of Microbiology?

The different branches of microbiology are -

  • Bacteriology - The study of bacteria.
  • Mycology - The study of prokaryotic organisms (bacteria) and fungi which are eukaryotic in nature.
  • Protozoology - It is the sub-discipline that deals with the study of protozoa.
  • Phycology - The study of multicellular organisms.
  • Parasitology - Study of parasites.
  • Immunology - Study of Immune systems.
  • Virology - Virology is a branch of microbiology that deals with the study of viruses.
  • Nematology - Study of multicellular nematodes. Those who study nematology are known as nematologists.

What is a Microbiology laboratory?

A Clinical Microbiology Laboratory is a full-service laboratory offering diagnostic bacteriology, mycology, parasitology, virology, and mycobacteriology. The laboratory receives specimens from patients to study and perform microbiology testing. A Microbiology Lab is composed of several sections including Aerobic and Anaerobic Bacteriology, Mycology, Parasitology, Mycobacteriology.

What tests are performed in a Microbiology laboratory?

Narayana Health’s Microbiology Laboratory is well equipped to perform all the following microbiology tests -

  • Aspirate culture & sensitivity
  • Aspirate for AFB
  • Blood culture & sensitivity
  • CSF- culture & sensitivity
  • Ear culture & sensitivity
  • Endocervical swab
  • Eye culture & sensitivity
  • Faecal occult blood
  • HVS culture & sensitivity
  • HVS routine examination
  • Nasal swab
  • Pleural aspirate culture & sensitivity
  • Pus culture & sensitivity
  • Rectal Swab for V. Cholerae
  • Semen analysis
  • Semen culture & sensitivity
  • Skin scrapping
  • Skin snip
  • Sputum for acid fast bacilli
  • Sputum culture & sensitivity
  • Stool culture & sensitivity
  • Stool routine & examination
  • Throat swab culture & sensitivity
  • Urethral swab culture & sensitivity
  • Urethral swab R/E
  • Urine AFB
  • Urine culture & Sensitivity
  • Acid-fast bacilli
  • Urine Pregnancy Test
  • Wound swab – Culture and Sensitivity
  • Mantoux test
  • C Reactive Protein
  • RA Test
  • RPR Test
  • Anti-Streptolysin ‘O’ Test
  • Dengue Rapid Test
  • Dengue NS1 Ag ELISA
  • Dengue Ig M Ab ELISA
  • Dengue Ig G Ab ELISA
  • Leptospira Rapid Test
  • Weil Felix Test
  • Procalcitonin Test
  • Chikungunya Rapid Test
  • Chemiluminescence Immunoassay (CLIA) for HIV, HCV and ABsAg
  • RT PCR For SARS, COV=2, H1N1, HCV, Mycobacterium Tuberculosis

What are the types of equipment used in the Microbiology laboratory?

A well-equipped microbiology laboratory is furnished with the following types of equipment -

  • Hot Air Oven for Sterilization
  • Drying Oven
  • Autoclave
  • Microbiological Incubator
  • BOD Incubator (Low-Temperature Incubator)
  • Fridge (Refrigerator)
  • Deep fridge
  • Electronic Top-pan and Analytical Balance
  • Shaking Water Bath
  • Vortex Mixer
  • Laminar Flow Chamber
  • Microscopes
  • Computers
  • Spectrophotometer
  • Electrical Devices
  • Automatic Bacteria Identification System
  • Bactec Blood Culture Sysytem
  • Bio Safety cabinet Type 2a
  • ELISA Washes
  • ELISA Reader
  • VITROS Immunodiagnostics
  • TRUENAT RT PCR Analysis
  • TRUENAT RNA Extractor

What are the different types of Microbiology techniques?

  • Aseptic Technique in Laboratory Preparation and Analysis - Sterilization, Disinfection, Sanitization, Inoculation, Incubation
  • Culture Techniques
  • Fixation and staining
  • Identification techniques - Morphology, Cultural characteristics, Physiological and Biochemical characteristics, Molecular analysis.