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Can microbiological studies help diagnose infection?

Q: My 80 years old diabetic mother is having high blood pressure and is now suffering from back pain for the last 2 months. After a CT scan guided FNAC and biopsy of D8 vertical body, the pathologist diagnosed granulomatous osteomyelitis compatible with tuberculosis and advised microbiological studies for the confirmation of the diagnosis. Is it curable? How long will it take? What is meant by microbiological studies? Can the same slides be used for microbiological studies? Please advise.

A:Microbiological studies involve various direct and indirect evidences that could help in the diagnosis and management of the infection. Direct evidences include microscopy (staining of slides to look acid fast bacilli - AFB), culture and Molecular amplification methods to look for bacterial DNA or RNA. Indirect tests are usually supportive and include Mantoux, Quantiferron TB Gold IT test, serology, ESR, radiolabelled imaging scans, etc. If specimens were not taken initially then material may have to be collected again though if some material is still available with the lab, then microscopy could be done. Treatment requires a definitive diagnosis and usually TB of bones is curable and the duration of treatment is around 1 year. You can visit any large hospital / medical college in your state to access these facilities.

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