Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

Our Microbiology and Infectious Diseases division provides a comprehensive diagnostic service for infectious diseases, as well as clinical infectious diseases services at a number of sites in South Australia.

Clinical consultation

On-call clinical consultation phone: 08 8222 3000

Pathologists are available to provide advice to clinicians on test selection and interpretation.

Diagnosis of infections

Laboratory diagnostic services performed include basic and advanced testing for bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic infections.

Services performed include testing for microbial causes of:

  • Skin and soft tissue infections, including tinea
  • Wound infections
  • Pneumonia and empyema
  • Intra-abdominal infections
  • Meningitis
  • Diarrhoea
  • Acute arthritis
  • Septicaemia (blood poisoning)
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Influenza and similar respiratory viral infections
  • Hepatitis
  • Other systemic infections, including viral and deep fungal infections.

These tests are supported by antibiotic susceptibility testing services and the molecular detection of antimicrobial resistance.

We also provide testing for Human Immunodeficiency Virus infections, including specialised testing for viral loads and antiretroviral resistance.

Our ability to conduct rapid diagnostic tests is currently expanding through the development and deployment of molecular (DNA and RNA) detection methods.

Infection control testing

Microbiology and Infectious Diseases supports the public hospitals of South Australia by screening selected patients for multi-resistant organisms, and identifying those colonised or infected with resistant bacteria capable of spread. The division dedicates specific resources to the early detection of outbreaks of infection in public hospitals, to assist those hospitals in preventing further spread.

We also support the public hospitals through screening of staff involved in patient care for immunity to certain infections at the time of employment.

Reference services

The division provides world-class reference services nationally and internationally, for the diagnosis of:

  • tuberculosis and related infections
  • fungal infections
  • viral infections including hepatitis and HIV and
  • the tracking of Salmonella infections

Food and environmental testing

The Food and Environmental Laboratory offers a large range of tests to support the monitoring and detection of outbreaks for the public health services of South Australia, as well as testing food and environmental samples for commercial manufacturers of foods, beverages, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

Clinical infectious diseases

Clinical infectious diseases services (inpatient consultation and outpatient care) are provided at Flinders Medical Centre, Repatriation General Hospital and the Women's and Children's Hospital. Pathologists in the division provide some clinical services to the Royal Adelaide Hospital and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Pathologists also provide Infection Control and Quality Use of Antimicrobials advice to public hospitals in South Australia.

Clinical Director: Dr Geoffrey Higgins
Directorate Service Manager : Andrew Lawrence