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Culture, Nocardia (Does Not Include Antibiotic Sensitivity)

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    blood sample




    Age group

    Above 10 years

    Nocardiosis is a disease spread by the bacteria Nocardia asteroids, usually found in soil or standing water. The disease is also caused by the bacteria of the same genus family, including N. otitidiscaviarum, Nocardia caviae, Nocardia brasiliensis, N. transvalensis, and Nocardia farcinica.

    The disease usually occurs in the lungs or skin and slowly spreads into the bloodstream, affecting different body parts, including the brain. Breathing in the bacteria causes Pulmonary Nocardiosis, while the dissemination in the skin or Primary Cutaneous infection occurs when Nocardia asteroides latches on to an open wound.

    It is most commonly found in people with weakened immune systems because of:

    • HIV
    • Diabetes
    • Bone-marrow or organ transplant
    • Patients undergoing cancer treatment with heavy medications
    • High doses of steroids

    Male patients are most likely to get affected by the disease than females. 
    Nocardia and its related pathogens are opportunist parasites. This makes the infection easily communicable. Nocardiosis typically spreads through:

    • Breathing the dust that contains the bacteria
    • Traumatic inoculation from infected soil or water
    • Hospital-acquired infection of bacterial transmission from contaminated medical equipment after a surgery

    The signs and symptoms of Nocardiosis vary based on the kind of disease a patient has. Frequently, the symptoms of Pulmonary Nocardiosis appear like the effects of pneumonia and tuberculosis, such as:

    • Chest pain
    • Night sweats
    • Chills
    • Chronic coughing
    • Inexplicable weight loss
    • Lack of appetite 
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

    Skin infections of Nocardiosis occur when the Nocardia asteroides bacterial species enter an open wound. Farming methods without protective clothing amplify the possibility of infection with minor injuries like cuts and thorn pricks. The signs of Primary Cutaneous Nocardiosis involve:

    • Skin abscesses or ulcers and shallow wounds on hands, chest, or back 
    • Protrusions on or below the skin with nodules, sometimes draining and filled with pus 
    • Rare occurrence of fever

    If Nocardiosis spreads to the brain, the central nervous system, including the spinal cord, is affected, leading to:

    • Severe headaches 
    • Motor skill troubles causing hand-eye incoordination 
    • Recurrent seizures 
    • Weakness and confusion 
    • Sensitivity to loud sounds and bright lights

    If left untreated, these symptoms turn more severe to turn potentially life-threatening. Up to 44% of patients with brain or spinal cord infections usually die with a higher likelihood of fatality in immunocompromised patients. In addition, it can also spread rapidly through the bloodstream to other body parts such as the intestines, kidneys, etc.

    Most of the disease’s symptoms are similar to common lung and skin infections. Hence, it's extremely difficult to catch the infection by analysing the effect without the Nocardia Culture microbiology test. Experts suggest a Culture Nocardia test to diagnose the disease early and provide treatment.

    For Culture Nocardia diagnosis, the assigned lab technician collects pus from the infected abscesses, which is transferred to a sterile container. The collected sample is later processed to observe the culture growth on a Petri plate with bacterial media.

    Apollo 24|7 provides an accurate Culture Nocardia diagnosis with its high-end laboratories spread across more than 100 centres in the country. Usually, Nocardia colonies in the culture grow within 48 hours, assuring the presence of the bacterial infection in the patient. However, it might take a long time to develop while testing for Nocardia infection if the patient is undergoing antibiotics treatment. 

    faqFrequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Frequently asked questions

    After leaving the specimen in an aerobic environment, the Nocardia colonies start appearing within 2-4 days. The mould-like and characteristic milder odour from the culture indicates the presence of infection. The specimen must be collected when the patient’s existing treatment doesn’t involve antibiotics.
    Pulmonary Nocardia infection is an infection of the lungs forming absences in the organ. It usually extends through the walls of the chest. The most apparent reason behind the spread of the infection is the contamination of the bloodstream by Nocardia bacteria species.
    The treatment of the illness depends on the timely diagnosis and severity of the spread in the body. Typically, the doctors suggest antibiotics after running the Nocardia Culture microbiology test. The course of the prescription ranges from 6 weeks to one year based on the diagnosis and immune system strength.
    The Nocardia infection spreads by the transmission of  N. asteroides through : Lung infection occurs by breathing in the dust or air containing the bacteria Seeping in of the parasite in the skin through a cut or a scrape Hospital-acquired condition of a patient undergoing surgery through contaminated medical equipment
    It is secondary dissemination of the N. asteroides bacteria causing pus-containing abscesses on the body’s hand, chest, or back. It occurs when the bacteria enters the body through an open wound leading to protrusions on the skin surface.
    The infection can prove to be fatal for patients suffering from preexisting conditions like HIV, diabetes, steroid treatment, cancer, etc. In addition, prolonged presence and exposure of the bacteria can lead to the spread of the infection in the brain and spinal cord, which can be deadly.

    Why should Apollo be your preferred healthcare partner?

    • 40 Years of legacy and credibility in the healthcare industry.
    • NABL certified multi-channel digital healthcare platform.
    • Affordable diagnostic solutions with timely and accurate test results.
    • Up to 60% discount on Doorstep Diagnostic Tests, Home Sample Collection.
    • An inventory of over 100+ laboratories, spread across the country, operating out of 120+ cities with 1200+ collection centers, serving over 1800+ pin codes.

    The information mentioned above is meant for educational purposes only and should not be taken as a substitute to your Physician’s advice. It is highly recommended that the customer consults with a qualified healthcare professional to interpret test results