Microbiology and Virology

Microbiology department

The microbiology department deals with the culturing, isolation and identification of micro-organisms such as bacteria and fungi obtained from various parts of the body using various specimens including swabs from wounds and pus, faeces, urine, respiratory specimens and blood and cerebrospinal fluid.

Pathology tests James Cook Hospital

Causative bacterial pathogens are identified which may be tested for sensitivity to various antibiotics. This may take up to 2-3 days to confirm a diagnosis due to the time required for a culture to grow.

Some examinations require longer incubations for example the examination of fungal culture may take up to 4 weeks and the examination of samples for TB may take up to 8 weeks.

A table of indicative turnaround times is available here.

Virology department

The virology department deals with the detection of viral infections, immunity investigations, toxin detection and outbreak monitoring. Serological and molecular techniques are used to perform screening assays and confirmation testing on a range of clinical samples. Most investigations are performed on site by automated or manual methods within 5 working days, with more specialized investigations referred to reference laboratories.

For clinical virology advice contact the duty microbiologist who will advise directly or refer your contact details to a virology specialist who will contact you and advise accordingly

Please ensure that all container tops are seated correctly on their threads and securely tightened down – leaking specimens are a hazard and will not be processed unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Please ensure relevant clinical data is provided with the request.