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Microbiology involves the detection of infection-causing microorganisms in any part of the body as well as testing of antibiotics for treatment. NorthShore’s microbiology experts employ stains, cultures and sophisticated molecular detection methods to pinpoint the many types of organisms that can lead to mild as well as potentially life-threatening infections, including:

  • Bacteria (Staph., Strep,. E.coli)
  • Mycobacteria (tuberculosis)
  • Fungi (yeasts and molds)
  • Parasites (Giardia, worms and insects)
  • Viruses (herpes, influenza) 

From commonplace sore throats to rare causes of meningitis, the Microbiology Lab provides expert specimen testing for a variety of conditions. Urine specimens for the diagnosis of urinary tract infection, sputum specimens for pneumonia, blood specimens for sepsis (blood poisoning) and tissue specimens to diagnose abscesses are part of the menu of tests that make the NorthShore Microbiology Lab a leader in state-of-the-art testing. In 2015 we were the first in the country to install the BD Kiestra Total Lab Automation System. This advanced instrumentation provides higher and more consistent quality, better efficiency and shorter testing times that provide earlier reporting of critical laboratory results.

NorthShore’s Microbiology Lab also performs a variety of screening tests each year designed to detect environmental microorganisms that can infect our patients as well as antibiotic resistant bacteria, such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staph. aureus), unknowingly carried by some of them. Detection and eradication of these potential disease-causing microorganisms prevents infection in debilitated patients being treated in our hospitals. At NorthShore, we distinguished ourselves as the first hospital system in the country in 2005 to prescreen all patients entering our inpatient facilities for MRSA. As a result, NorthShore’s MRSA infection rates are the lowest in the state of Illinois.