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Importance of Microbiology in Medicine

Importance of Microbiology in Medicine: Veterinary medicine, Laboratory medicine.

The field of microbiology is one of the most important sections of biology, despite its relatively small size. Studying microbes closely can prove to be helpful in fighting diseases, developing agricultural chemicals, and even in maintaining the health of the planet.

Importance of Microbiology in Medicine: Veterinary medicine, Laboratory medicine
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Importance of Microbiology in Medicine: Veterinary medicine, Laboratory medicine

Veterinary medicine 

Veterinary microbiology covers the study of bacterial and viral infections in terrestrial vertebrate animals that provide food, other useful products, or companionship to humans (livestock, companion animals, fur-bearing animals, game animals, poultry, but not fish).

Microbiology in veterinary diagnostics is used to identify and detect pathogenic microorganisms. Several laboratory techniques developed for the study of human pathogens, such as identifying and detecting, subtyping and phylogenetic analysis, determining virulence, and assessing drug resistance, have been readily applied to animal pathogens, or vice versa, because microorganisms that cause disease in humans and animals have many similarities. 

Furthermore, animals of various groups and categories often come in contact with their own pathogens, in addition to zoonotic infections that affect both humans and animals.  Due to these reasons, veterinary diagnostic microbiology faces even greater challenges than its medical counterpart in identifying pathogenic microorganisms in animals with accuracy, sensitivity, and rapidity.  

Humans and animals have both benefited from the advancements made by veterinary medicine. From animal sources, human TB and brucellosis exposure has significantly decreased. 

Safe and efficient vaccines have been developed to treat feline and canine distemper (panleukopenia) and many other companion animal diseases. Chickens were vaccinated with the first anticancer vaccination to treat Marek’s disease.

As a result of veterinary surgeons’ work, human surgical techniques, like hip-joint replacement and organ transplants, were eventually adapted successfully.

Veterinary medicine intersects with private industry in areas such as marketing animal-health products, observing animal health in large commercial animal-production operations, and conducting biomedical research. 

There is considerable interaction between veterinary specialists and industry in the fields of toxicology, laboratory animal medicine, pathology, molecular biology, and genetic engineering. Veterinary professionals are employed by pharmaceutical companies to develop, test, and evaluate medications, chemicals, and biologic products like antibiotics and vaccines for animals and humans.

Veterinary microbiologists are currently confronted with a number of challenges, including how to reliably identify the species of rare and challenging organisms harming animals in a timely manner. 

There are two types of microbes: pathogenic or asymptomatic, which are either asymptomatic for animals but cause sickness in humans through food contamination. Zoonosis control in food microbiology also plays a critical role, such as Salmonella and Campylobacter surveillance in egg production and whole milk production.

Laboratory medicine

Microbiologists are responsible for diagnosing diseases and distinguishing them from normal flora and non-pathogenic environmental organisms with diagnostic microbiology. A diagnostic microbiology laboratory is essential for diagnosing and treating infectious diseases. 

Molecular diagnostics uses both long-established methods, such as Gram staining, as well as more recent methods that allow for extremely thorough gene sequence and protein profile analyses. Although hospital laboratories routinely identify the organisms that cause the most common disease, staff should also keep an eye out for atypical pathogens and the next pandemic. 

A microscopic organism is an infectious agent that cannot be seen with the naked eye. It sometimes causes illness in humans. A wide variety of species of organisms exist, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, prions, and protozoa. Microbes also include microscopic parasites. 

The microbiology laboratory’s diagnosis of infection serves two major purposes: clinical and epidemiological. Microbiological diagnostics have been significantly advanced with the advent of point-of-care tests. In developing countries, a lack of microbiological laboratories is a problem that could be solved with this initiative. An infection prevention and control laboratory (IPC) is crucial for preventing and managing infection.

Microbiology laboratories are ideally equipped to identify and type at least some of the most common bacteria creating healthcare-associated infections for epidemiologic studies.

As soon as possible, microbiology laboratories must provide clinicians with information regarding microbiology tests findings, as this information is crucial for treating patients with infectious disorders and ensuring that hospital infections are controlled appropriately. 

Thus, every time the microbiology laboratory works with an infection control professional and a doctor, they should maintain a positive relationship. Microbiology laboratory technicians would be well advised to attend the doctor’s round to meet patients with infectious diseases, or to attend patient management conferences on the wards for this reason.

It’s almost impossible to imagine a doctor’s daily routine without laboratory medicine. Test results from clinical laboratories are needed throughout a patient’s lifetime by clinicians to assess their health, diagnose diseases, and plan and monitor treatments, whether they are measuring cholesterol levels to determine a patient’s risk for cardiovascular disease or sequencing DNA of tumours to help decide the best kind of chemotherapy to use. 

As well as detecting illegal drug usage, drug misuse, and overdose, clinical laboratories also keep blood supplies clean and transplant patients safe from harmful microbes. Laboratory scientists contribute to innovation and better healthcare by developing new and creative tests and by collaborating with clinicians to incorporate informatics and other laboratory data into clinical practice guidelines.

Microbiology laboratories are also responsible for diagnosing and investigating outbreaks. Labs are often first to notice unusual events or patterns (like the development of multidrug resistant organisms or the formation of clusters). Comparative analysis (“typing” or “fingerprinting”) of infectious agents with epidemiologically similar characteristics helps to confirm an outbreak by determining whether they are related. 

Investment in the lab (detection and typing) is required, but improved performance is worth it. Due to limited resources, infection control initiatives may not be able to get a dedicated budget. Laboratory tests of epidemics should be done in cooperation with the ICC.

Typing isolates is useful during outbreaks for determining if strains are prevalent, how they are propagated, and how reservoirs and carriers are identified.

There is currently a growing concern about antimicrobial resistance, especially in hospitals. On the other hand, antibiotic resistance levels can be used as an indicator of how well an ICP is organized and how well antibiotics are being used.

To prevent antimicrobial resistance, WHO has announced a worldwide action plan that includes surveillance, research, illness reduction, and antibiotic use optimization.

In antimicrobial stewardship, the microbiology laboratory aims to improve outcomes, limit adverse reactions, prevent the emergence of antibiotic resistance, as well as save healthcare costs by optimizing antibiotic prescribing.

Read also: Vaccine definition meaning; Histopathology definition meaning; Studyread

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