Microbiology

The Microbiology department at Northern Light Laboratory provides a broad range of diagnostic services for infectious diseases.

Our lab is staffed by skilled, dedicated technologists who maintain the highest quality of testing. Our Microbiology department serves as a reference laboratory for many other laboratories.

The Microbiology department is composed of the following specialized sections:

The Bacteriology section cultures all types of patient specimens to detect the presence of pathogenic bacteria. A culture includes isolation and identification of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria and antibiotic susceptibility testing (if indicated). Our Microbiology department uses the latest technologies and instrumentation and was the first laboratory in the Northeast to utilize MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry to rapidly identify bacteria and yeast. We utilize the Sensititretm complete antimicrobial susceptibility testing system for the bulk of our AST which allows us to respond quickly to national recommendations outlining breakpoint-changes.
 

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The Molecular section tests patient samples for infectious agents by detecting the presence of organism-specific nucleic acids. Molecular testing is much faster and more sensitive than culture for certain organisms. It also enables detection of organisms that are very difficult to culture. Our molecular menu is constantly evolving and includes:
  • Influenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
  • Herpes Simplex types 1 and 2
  • Varicella Zoster virus
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (Chlamydia, Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Trichomonas vaginalis)
  • Bordetella pertussis/parapertussis
  • Clostridium difficile
  • Quantitative Hepatitis C virus
  • Quantitative HIV

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The Virology section cultures for viruses using shell vial cell culture, a technique that is more rapid and sensitive than standard viral culture assays. Viruses are identified using fluorescent antibody testing from positive shell vial cultures. The Virology section tests for respiratory viruses, cytomegalovirus (CMV), HSV, VZV and enteroviruses.

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The Mycology section cultures fungi from several types of patient specimens on specialized media. In addition, the Mycology section performs antifungal sensitivity testing for clinically-important yeasts.

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The Parasitology section tests stool samples for common parasites by enzyme immunoassay. Other parasites are identified microscopically. Our technologists are very competent in performing microscopic exams on blood and stool samples for parasites as well as macroscopic exams of suspected worms.

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The Serology section performs automated immunoassays to detect specific antibodies in serum. The presence or absence of antibodies is used in the diagnosis of infectious diseases and also for immune status. Multiplex flow immunoassays are utilized to test for antibodies to HIV, Herpes types 1 and 2, Epstein - Barr virus (infectious mononucleosis), Celiac disease, Measles, Mumps, Rubella and Varicella zoster (chicken pox). Enzyme-immunoassays are performed to aid in the diagnosis of Helicobacter pylori and Lyme disease.
 

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Contact Microbiology at 207-973-6980