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Infectious Disease

Education & Training, Microbiology, Test Utilization

Influenza Diagnosis and Test Utilization

In anticipation of “Flu season”, it is valuable to revisit available testing methods for influenza and discuss when each test should be ordered. Though generally a self-limited infection for otherwise healthy individuals, influenza can be particularly severe for high-risk populations including infants, elderly, pregnant women, and immunocompromised hosts. Influenza incidence is largely seasonal with the majority of cases occurring between December and April of each year. Continue Reading

Hematology, Microbiology

Malaria Testing Update

Effective June 1, 2016, Malaria testing will be updated. Recommended first line testing for suspected malaria is called Malaria Rapid Screen which is a combination of a rapid BinaxNow test in Hematology and a blood smear review in Microbiology. The BinaxNow test has a reported sensitivity of 97.7% and specificity of 94.2% for detection of P. falciparum species if a patient has a parasitemia level of over 5000 parasites/uL; sensitivity is lower for other malaria species. The BinaxNow test is not reported to cross react with babesia species. BinaxNow testing will be available for all shifts in Hematology at the Spectrum Health Regional Laboratory. The specimen requirements are unchanged from previous malaria testing. Previous test “Malaria Smear for Protozoa” will be discontinued. Continue Reading