PathWest Laboratory Medicine WA provides a comprehensive clinical and diagnostic enteric microbiology service. The Enteric Reference Laboratory is located at the QEII Medical Centre and provides a 7-day service. Routine and specialised investigations for enteric pathogens include bacteria, viruses and parasites. Clinical specimens, and culture isolates for identification and typing are received from all laboratories in Western Australia. Parasitology examinations may be performed on specimens other than faeces and faecal occult blood testing is also performed.

Turnaround times vary from a few hours to several days for particularly complex tests. Microscopy tests for parasites may include a faecal concentration and special stains. Rapid detection methods are utilised where possible for optimal patient care. Our ability to conduct rapid molecular testing is currently expanding through advances in technology and our collaboration with other sections within Microbiology. Culture results are often available 24 – 48 hours after, though some organisms require enrichment incubation for isolation. Antibiotic susceptibility testing is conducted and reported where appropriate. Clinical staff are available to discuss antibiotic treatment and give infection control advice

The Enteric Reference Laboratory is the State Reference Centre for Salmonella and Shigella serotyping and collaborates closely with other Enteric Reference Laboratories within Australia, the WA Department of Health Communicable Diseases Directorate including OzFoodNet, the PathWest Environmental Microbiology Unit and the PathWest Microbial Surveillance section.

Last Updated: 01/12/2021