Menu   WellSpan Health

Health Library

Health Library

Microbiology

What is microbiology?

Picture of a male pathologist, labeling a specimen

Microbiology is the study of disease-causing microorganisms. Microbiology is responsible for identifying infectious agents in tissue, bone marrow, blood, urine, sputum, feces, cerebrospinal fluid, and other body fluids. The infectious agents can also be tested for sensitivity to certain antibiotics used to treat infections.

Microbiology uses various techniques to identify microorganisms, including the following:

  • Chemical, immunological, and genetic tests

  • Examination under a microscope

  • Staining

Microorganisms can include the following:

  • Bacteria

  • Fungi

  • Parasites

  • Viruses

Common microbiology tests

Tests

Uses

Blood culture

Can diagnose bacterial, fungal, or viral infections of the blood

Burn, tissue, and wound culture

Can identify disease-causing organisms in various tissues

Sputum culture and/or nasal swab 

Can identify bacteria that cause upper and lower respiratory tract infections, such as pneumonia

Stool culture

Can identify parasites and bacteria  that cause disease, such as salmonella or hookworms

Urine culture

Can identify disease-causing bacteria in the kidneys and urinary tract

Throat swab and/or culture

Often used to diagnose or rule out strep throat

 

If the culture identifies an infection, the disease-causing microbe may be tested to determine its sensitivity to antibiotic or antimicrobial drugs. This culture and sensitivity test can help the doctor identify an appropriate medication to treat an infection.

Cultures may take 24 hours to 48 hours for results. Antibiotic susceptibility studies may take another 24 hours to 48 hours.

Microbiology - WellSpan Health

Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Online Medical Reviewer: Sather, Rita, RN
Last Review Date: 2014-10-07T00:00:00
Last Modified Date: 2014-10-14T00:00:00
Posting Date: 2008-11-30T00:00:00
Published Date: 2014-10-14T00:00:00
Last Review Date: 2007-03-30T00:00:00
© 2015 WellSpan Health. All Rights Reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.

×

Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to www.mywellspan.org, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.

×