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Microbiology

Microbiology is about looking for potential pathogenic microbes in humans. This includes bacteria, parasites and fungi. Our Clinical Microbiology Laboratory provides a wide range of services including sexual health screening, enteric pathogens, to multiple resistant organisms. We are also the national reference centre for Mycology, Anaerobes, and molecular typing of Mycobacteria.

Our Microbiologists provide advice about interpretation of microbiology results, treatment of infections and infection control issues. We also work in close liaison with the infectious disease clinicians and the Infection Control service at ADHB.

Our annual Antimicrobial Susceptibility Report can be viewed here.

Key contacts

The Anaerobic section is the national reference centre and receives anaerobes from hospital and community laboratories throughout New Zealand. Organisms are identified using a combination of phenotypic tests, commercial systems and 16SrRNA-sequence analysis.

Key contact

Nadia Al Anbuky

The Heart Valve Bank supplies human heart valve tissue for cardiac surgery. This donated tissue is used for repair of congenital defects in new babies and small children. Heart valves are also needed for replacement of diseased heart valves in children and teenagers with rheumatic heart disease. About 60 human heart valves are needed each year and these can be stored for up to 5 years in a liquid nitrogen freezer.

For more information on heart valve and organ donation, please visit Organ Donation New Zealand

Key contact

Jill Faulkner

We offer rapid detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) respiratory specimens by PCR. This can be done on smear positive specimens from patients suspected of having multi-drug resistant TB, or where there are public health or infection control concerns.

A TB antigen test is available for the rapid identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from positive cultures and we have a rapid DNA probe to identify M. avium-complex.

Susceptibility testing against first and second line anti-TB drugs is available, as well as susceptibility testing for rapid growing mycobacteria. Molecular resistance testing is also available.

The Molecular Diagnostic section provides molecular typing (MIRU) for all New Zealand M. tuberculosis strains. Please see Molecular Diagnostic for details.

Key contact

Sandie Newton

We provide a National Reference service for identification of fungi and aerobic actinomycetes. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing is provided when clinically appropriate.

This page has the downloadable Mycology Reference Laboratory isolate referral form.

Other specialised tests include:

  • Fungal serology for cryptococcal antigen and aspergillus precipitins.
  • Indirect fluorescent antibody staining for Pneumocystis carinii.
  • Culture for Leishmania species and Acanthomoeba species.

A specimen collection service is provided on request.

An extensive culture collection is maintained and fungal cultures can be provided for teaching purposes.

Key contacts

Wendy McKinney

The Molecular Diagnostic section testing spans all areas of clinical microbiology.

In-house real-time PCR is carried out for detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycoplasma genitalium, and LGV from appropriate specimens. Please refer to the LabPLUS Test Guide for details. In-house PCR tests have been established for the detection of Bartonella species, Rickettsia species and Tropheryma whipplei.

From clinical specimens and also from cultured organism, we offer 16S rRNA sequence analysis for detection of bacteria, 18S rRNA-sequence analysis for detection of fungi and hsp65 sequence analysis as well for identification of non-tuberculous mycobacterium. Sequence-based diagnostic methods are performed to detect specific mutations associated with drug resistance especially M. tuberculosis.

We are the reference laboratory for genotyping of M. tuberculosis isolates cultured in New Zealand by using automated 24-MIRU typing. This data is then entered into a national database for use by Public Health.

Key contacts

Indira Basu