Molecular genetics - microbial
Last updated: Sunday, 21, May, 2006
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Blood, urine, swabs, sputum, nasopharyngeal aspirate, CSF, pleural/pericardial fluid, peritoneal fluid - as appropriate.
Detection of specific bacterial, viral, fungal, protozoal, parasitic or plasmid DNA, viral or ribosomal DNA or viral RNA, using nucleic acid probes with or without preceding PCR amplification.
See Molecular genetics.
Diagnosis of infection in circumstances where other approaches involve significant difficulty or delay:
Both false positive and negative results occur. A knowledge of the specificity and sensitivity of the tests in individual laboratories is required.
There are now a plethora of nucleic acid tests for a variety of conditions available, but for many of these the sensitivity and specificity have not yet been determined and the clinical utility is thus undefined.
Although a positive test indicates the presence of the organism, the diagnosis of the actual infection requires the presence of consistent clinical findings.
Padzorski R and Persing D. In: Murray PR et al eds. Manual of Clinical Microbiology. 6th ed. ASM Press 1995.
Schirm J et al. J Clin Microbiol 1995; 33: 3221-3224.