In the 21st century, one of the greatest challenges to public health and clinical microbiologists is the rapid detection and identification of emerging and reemerging pathogens. Complex factors such as genetic variation in the host and pathogen, environmental changes, population pressures, and global travel can all influence the emergence of infectious diseases. The SARS epidemic of 2003 highlighted the potential of an emerging pathogen to spread globally in a very short time frame (Peruski and Peruski, 2003). The diagnostics of such infectious diseases has been greatly affected in the past 20 years. No longer is cultivation and microscopy the only means of detecting infectious agents. With the introduction of molecular diagnostics, the ability to detect minute amounts of microbial nucleic acids in clinical specimens has revolutionized clinical microbiology. In particular, the utility of PCR allows the detection and quantitation of specific agents in a matter of hours. PCR sequencing of specific segments of nucleic acid allows for the determination of specific drug resistance that now aids in guiding viral therapies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)