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Changes in Clinical Diagnostics and Tracking Infectious Diseases

Changes in Clinical Diagnostics and Tracking Infectious Diseases
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    The CDC examines how CIDTs are changing diagnosis of infectious disease, how tests are evolving, and applications to public health systems.
    • Overview

      When it comes to tracking infectious diseases and outbreaks, determining who is infected with a particular pathogen is the first step in solving the puzzle and stopping the spread of the disease. Traditionally, culture testing has been the primary means of identifying the specific pathogen. With this method, cultures must be evaluated in a lab setting, and results can take two or three days. Culture-independent diagnostic tests (CIDTs) are a new method for diagnosing infections, and they are often used to identify foodborne illness. CIDTs work by detecting the presence of a specific genetic sequence or antigen of a germ.

      These newer tests are faster, and results are available much sooner than with traditional culture tests. However, CIDTs don’t identify the exact organism that caused the illness, and they don’t provide some of the more detailed information that culture tests can. For example, CIDTs don’t tell us what specific strain of an illness someone has, or how it may respond to antibiotics. Using only CIDTs makes it more difficult to connect individual infections to the same strain and to identify outbreaks.

      In this session of Grand Rounds Nation from CDC's Public Health Grand Rounds, you will hear how CIDTs are changing the landscape of diagnosing infectious disease. Speakers will also discuss how the tests are evolving, and how some states are adapting to using CIDTs in their public health systems.

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