The Mycobacteriology laboratory located at QEII Medical Centre in Nedlands functions as the State Reference facility for Mycobacteria and provides a comprehensive range of tests. Clinical samples and culture isolates for identification are received from all laboratories in Western Australia.
Close collaboration with the Western Australian Tuberculosis Control Programme and the Mycobacteria Reference Laboratories in other Australian states and New Zealand is maintained.
Services include microscopy, isolation and identification of mycobacteria, microscopy for Mycobacterium leprae, susceptibility testing of clinically relevant isolates and molecular epidemiology typing. Molecular amplification tests for the detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in smear positive specimens and rifampicin (rpoB gene) resistance are also available.
Microscopy for acid fast bacilli (AFB) is performed on a smear prepared from the specimen using either a Ziehl-Neelsen (ZN) or fluorochrome stain. Urgent ZN testing can be performed at laboratories located at QEII Medical Centre, Royal Perth Hospital and Fiona Stanley Hospital if required. We aim to provide microscopy results within one working day of receiving routine samples. All specimens are cultured using a combination of automated broth and conventional solid culture media. Isolation of mycobacteria may take up to 12 weeks, with positive cultures being reported as soon as identified. Drug susceptibility testing is routinely performed on all new M.tuberculosis isolates and usually takes 7-12 days. Susceptibility testing for non-tuberculous mycobacteria is available for clinically significant rapidly growing mycobacterium and M.avium complex.

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Page last updated: 30 Jun 2020