Clinical Bacteriology Group

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"Eight petri dishes with of different color agar media in each. Confluent bacterial growth on each  plate spells out the genus or species growing in each plate: E. coli, Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, Listeria"

Five differential and selective growth media used to identify and isolate Escherichia coli and Salmonella spp. © DSHS 2022

What We Do

The Clinical Bacteriology Group identifies bacteria from clinical specimens and pure isolates using several methods, including:

  • matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF), 
  • conventional biochemicals, 
  • phenotypic methods, 
  • commercial test kits, 
  • gas liquid chromatography, and 
  • serogrouping or serotyping. 

The identification and/or confirmation of pure cultures for the following organisms are carried out by the Clinical Bacteriology Group:

  • Gram-negative non-fermentative rods
  • Gram-positive rods including coryneforms and Bacillus
  • Gram-positive cocci including Streptococcus and Staphylococcus
  • Enterobacteriaceae, Haemophilus, and Neisseria

The Laboratory also tests specimens submitted under Texas Administrative Code Chapter 97. Required specimen submissions include:

  • Corynebacterium diphtheriae isolates,
  • Haemophilus influenzae isolates from normally sterile sites from children younger than 5 years old,
  • Listeria monocytogenes isolates,
  • Neisseria meningitidis isolates from normally sterile sites or purpuric lesions,
  • Salmonella species isolates including specimens positive for Salmonella by culture-independent diagnostic testing (CIDT) methods,
  • Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (all E. coli O157:H7 isolates, and any E. coli isolates or specimens in which Shiga toxin activity has been demonstrated),
  • Staphylococcus aureus isolates with a vancomycin MIC greater than 2 μg/mL (VISA and VRSA),
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates from normally sterile sites in children younger than five years old, and
  • Vibrio species isolates including specimens positive for Vibrio by CIDT methods.

The Clinical Bacteriology Group also

  • confirms or completes the findings of other laboratories that lack the resources to conduct specialized procedures on isolates of significance (reportable) to the DSHS, and
  • provides the laboratory resources that are required in epidemiological surveillance studies.

How to Use This Guide

This specimen submission and shipping guidance is for healthcare providers and clinical and reference laboratories who submit specimens to the DSHS Austin Laboratory for testing, outbreak, or surveillance purposes.

The information may also be of interest to patients. Those who have health concerns or who seek to submit specimens for analysis are encouraged to discuss those concerns with their healthcare provider. DSHS laboratory staff cannot make treatment recommendations.

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Austin Laboratory Correspondence and Bulletins

Microbiological Sciences Branch Notices

How to Contact the Clinical Bacteriology Lab

Call: (512) 776-7582 or (888) 963-7111 x7582 toll-free

Fax: 512-776-7452 

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