Also: Sensitivity Tests
Infections can be caused by viruses, bacteria or microscopic parasitic organisms. In evaluating an infection, it is sometimes necessary to determine exactly what type of organism is responsible. A test called a culture can provide that information.
A culture may be indicated in the following situations:
In performing a culture, we collect a sample of blood, urine, spinal fluid, stool or discharge from your child. This material is then incubated in a nutrient mixture. Over the following days, the offending pathogen will multiply, forming a colony of identical organisms. By inspecting these organisms under the microscope, we can usually determine their exact identity. Accordingly, an appropriate treatment can be planned.
Once a bacterial pathogen has been identified, additional information can be obtained by testing that bacteria’s sensitivity to a variety of antibiotics. This information is particularly helpful when an infection is particularly aggressive and/or unresponsive to standard antibiotic therapy.