Field Epidemiology Manual Wiki

The role of the clinical microbiology laboratory in infection prevention and control

Last modified at 5/12/2016 7:06 AM by Vladimir Prikazsky


Clinical microbiology laboratories process various specimens from patients, healthcare workers or elsewhere e.g. the environment. The results of their analyses can either contribute to the everyday diagnosis and management of infection in individual patients (the clinical role), or inform healthcare associated infections (HAIs) infection prevention and control/hospital hygiene (IC) interventions or antimicrobial stewardship (AS) activities (the public health/the epidemiological role). However, as we will see, these two roles are interactive.

Clinical role of the microbiology laboratory.

1.1 Patient diagnosis and management.

1.2. Specific issues of HAIs.

1.3 The challenges of microbiological specimens.

1.4 Requirements of clinical specimens for microbiological analyses.

1.5 Quality assurance systems.

1.6 Microbiological laboratory methods.

1.7 The challenges of consolidated microbiology laboratory.

1.8 Future developments.

1.9 Point of care (POC) tests.


Epidemiological/public health role of the clinical microbiology laboratory

2.1 Surveillance.

2.2. Outbreak investigations

2.3 Antimicrobial stewardship (AS).

2.4 More specialised IC related services.

2.5 Participation in IC committee.

2.6 Education of IC, AS and clinical staff.


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Original contribution from:

Smilja Kalenic,University of Zagreb School of Medicine

Barry Cookson, University College London