Identification of Pathogens by Classical Clinical Tests

Reference work entry

Abstract

Since the recognition of bacteria as agents of human and animal disease, phenotypic methods have been used to identify them. From the time Roux first recognized curved gram negative rods in the stools of patients with cholera, microscopic examination of stained clinical specimens and cultures have been proven to be a reliable and rapid means of preliminarily identifying organisms into specific groups such as gram positive cocci or acid fast bacilli. The ability to grow under different environmental conditions such as only in the presence (aerobic), absence (anaerobic), or either in the presence or absence (facultative) of oxygen is yet another way of differentiating organisms. Simple phenotypic tests that detect a variety of enzymatic activities can be further used to identify bacteria. Detection of specific virulence factors such as protein exotoxins is another method used to detect bacterial pathogens. Some organisms are difficult or cannot be grown on artificial media. One method used in these instances is serology which tests the immune response to the organism.

Once identified, the management of infection with these organisms remains. One of the keys to managing bacterial infections in patients and animals is to determine to what antimicrobials the causative agents are resistant. This is important because patients treated with antimicrobial agents to which their causative agents are resistant will likely not have a clinical response. These methods and more are the focus of this chapter on the conventional identification of clinically relevant bacteria.

Keywords

Clinical Specimen Colony Morphology MacConkey Agar Sheep Blood Agar Clinical Microbiology Laboratory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyUniversity of North Carolina School of MedicineChapel HillUSA

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