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Public health microbiology 

Public health microbiology
Chapter:
Public health microbiology
Author(s):

Helen R. Stagg

, Nigel M. Field

, and Sani H. Aliyu

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198719830.003.0009
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date: 28 November 2020

Microbiology is a vital tool in the public health specialist’s arsenal to control and prevent infectious diseases. It includes a range of techniques: from microbial culture-based systems through to novel and sophisticated mass spectrometry and ‘molecular’-based assays that allow accurate and rapid detection and speciation of organisms. With the rise of more sophisticated typing techniques, linked to substantial price reductions in whole-genome sequencing, microbiology has been revolutionized in recent decades. Public health laboratories support local and national public health programmes through timely epidemiological surveillance, evaluating public health interventions, and assisting with outbreak investigations. Public health microbiology thus has an important role in the development and prioritization of health agendas.

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