Patient Experience

Patient Experience

The Microbiology Department is part of the Laboratory Medicine (LabMed) Directorate. The department is primarily involved in the diagnosis of infectious diseases and provides a routine diagnostic service to St James’s Hospital and to general practitioners (GPs) in the catchment area.

There are three main sections to the Microbiology Laboratory. 

  • Diagnostic Bacteriology
  • Serology
  • Molecular Microbiology

The Microbiology Laboratory houses three national reference laboratories: National Gonococcal Reference Laboratory, National MRSA Reference Laboratory and the Irish Mycobacteria Reference Laboratory

In addition to this the Microbiology Department has been designated as a Centre of Excellence: Diamond Status, by the European Confederation of Medical Mycology for the Mycology Clinical and Laboratory Diagnostic service provided  to users.

Microbiology certification

For information in regard to the test repertoire offered, specimen requirements for ordering, collection and transport, frequency of testing, turnaround times, information on storage of samples in the event of a delay in transport to the laboratory and relevant notes specific to each test, please refer to:

The Labmed User Guide:

For critical phone limits for Microbiology St James’s Hospital please see : LF MICRO 0456 Critical Phone Limits Microbiology St James's Hospital

In the case where chain of evidence is required for a given specimen please ensure to complete relevant sections of LF-MICRO-0475 Laboratory Chain of Evidence Form.

Additional Tests Requests
Please contact the Microbiology Department if additional testing is required. Samples are stored for different lengths of time, so direct communication with Microbiology is required.

    • Culture of a range of biological material (e.g. swabs, urine, blood, sputum) from human sources.
    • Isolation and identification of potentially pathogenic bacteria and fungi.
    • Determination of antimicrobial susceptibilities.

    Note the definitions we use when we categorise organisms as susceptible, intermediate or resistant are defined below

    • S - Susceptible, standard dosing regimen: A microorganism is categorised as "Susceptible, standard dosing regimen", when there is a high likelihood of therapeutic success using a standard dosing regimen of the agent.
    • I – Susceptible, increased exposure*: A microorganism is categorised as "Susceptible, Increased exposure*" when there is a high likelihood of therapeutic success because exposure to the agent is increased by adjusting the dosing regimen or by its concentration at the site of infection.
    • R - Resistant: A microorganism is categorised as "Resistant" when there is a high likelihood of therapeutic failure even when there is increased exposure.

    *Exposure is a function of how the mode of administration, dose, dosing interval, infusion time, as well as distribution and excretion of the antimicrobial agent will influence the infecting organism at the site of infection.

    (Ref: The European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing - EUCAST

  • Involves the diagnostic identification of antibodies in serum. Such antibodies are typically formed in response to an infection (against a given microorganism). Serological tests for antibodies to HIV, Hepatitis B & C and Syphilis are, among others, available in the Clinical Microbiology department. 

  • Employs a highly sensitive technique known as Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify (replicate many times) a specific target DNA sequence in order to detect a particular pathogen. Molecular Microbiology, like Serology, is employed when the suspected microbial agent either cannot be isolated in culture by any known method or can be isolated in culture only with great difficulty (e.g. Chlamydia).

  • Please contact the Microbiology Medical Scientist on-call who is available via the switchboard. (01) 4103000

    Note that the Microbiology Medical Scientist must be bleeped for urgent specimens to be processed out of hours, users should not telephone the laboratory as telephones are not staffed out of routine hours

    Monday to Friday 8pm to 8am

    Saturday 1pm to 12am

    Sunday 24 hours

    Clinical Advice

    Advice regarding diagnosis and treatment of infection is available at all times. For out of hours advice including infection control advice, please contact the on-call consultant microbiologist via switchboard (01) 4103000 or on-call Medical Scientist.

  • Laboratory Office: (01) 4162966 & (01) 4162967

    Laboratory  Aspects

    Chief Medical Scientist: Antoinette Power (01) 4162986, (01) 4162966

    Chief Medical Scientist (Virology): Yvonne Lynagh (01) 4162969, (01) 4162056

    Infection Control

    Jija Varghese (01) 4103379

Contact Details

Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm
Saturday 8am to 1pm

How to find us

First floor, Laboratory Medicine and Molecular Pathology building

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