Module 3 – short answer questions – Respiratory infections

  1. Describe the Gram stain appearance and how a lab identifies pneumoniae. What antibiotics are useful for treating pneumococcal pneumonia? What about pneumococcal meningitis?
  2. Describe what vaccines are available world-wide for pneumococcus in children and adults.
  3. How does influenza evade the immune response? What drugs are available to treat influenza? How well do they work?
  4. What is the natural history of whooping cough (pertussis) in children and adults? How is whooping cough diagnosed by the lab?
  5. What are potential side effects or toxicity of doxycycline? What is its mechanism of action and spectrum?
  6. What are some of the unusual causes of bacterial or fungal pneumonia in PNG?

Remember this is a good place to look at Gram stains and culture pics

Good discipline required – write down your answers! Once the model answers are provided, get a colleague to mark your paper . This will really help with your preparation and knowledge retention.  Also compare your answers.

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Skin soft tissue module – references for other important topics


Yaws, Mycetoma , Leprosy, Buruli ulcer, Filariasis, Skin sores caused by Haemophilus ducreyi

Gram negative skin infections

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Skin and Soft tissue – Short answer questions- annotated

  1. Describe how Staphylococcus aureus is identified in the lab : a discussion of methods should include:
  • Gram stain appearance
  • Colony morphology on blood agar – may be haemolytic- colour etc
  • Coagulase detection – bound coagulase and tube coagulase – NB these are not equivalent procedures. Tube coagulase is the most reliable of the two methods
  • Other phenotypic characters – utilises mannitol , DNASe production, presence of protein A on surface (usually detected in a combined latex particle agglutination reaction that also includes bound coagulase), MALDITOF – commonest now in Australia – look it up!
  • Molecular – presence of nuclease gene by PCR is a common way

In general for important specimens – e.g. blood, the identification should be by at least two phenotypic methods – eg Mannitol positive and tube coagulase positive.

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Basic microbiology module- short answer questions – annotated

  1. Contrast the structure of gram negative and gram positive cell walls : 
    • This posting may be of interest – it contrasts why Gram negative and positive bacteria exhibit different antimicrobial susceptibilities.
    • A knowledge of how the peptidoglycan cell wall is constructed is essential for understanding how betalactam and glycopeptide antibiotics work
    • Also understand how the Gram stain reaction works – here is an animation

Continue reading

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Hepatitis B and transfusion testing – short question answers

Hepatitis B and transfusion testing – model answers to Feb 2017 tute questions Continue reading

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Antibiotic resistance and prescribing presentation & quiz- Year 5 UPNG

Here is a copy of the presentation from the session given to year 5 Medicine students, February 2017 year-5-presentation-ferguson-2017-b.  Please send me your comments or further questions or put down a comment on this web posting!

Here are the pre-session quiz questions and commentary [thanks all for your answers and well done with the knowledge you displayed! ] :

  1. What class of antibiotic is vancomycin?

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Online microbe atlas- Gram stain and culture plate photos

This resource provides free to air photos of great quality-just the thing for your presentations and learning.



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Microbial Genomics for Public Health and Clinical Microbiology- Nov 2016 symposium report

This recent symposium was a great wrap up of whole genome sequencing at its many applications organised by the Doherty Institute in Melbourne.  Here is my (short) Doherty-symposium report which will give you some idea of where things are going- a rapidly developing field!


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Human Intestinal Microbiome in Health and Disease – recent short NEJM review

Short interesting review of this cutting edge topic for your December delectation!   

“Human-associated microbes have primarily been viewed through
the lens of a single species and its environment. Advances in culture independent
technologies have shown the enormous diversity, functional
capacity, and age-associated dynamics of the human microbiome .

A large number of diverse microbial species reside in the distal gastrointestinal
tract, and gut microbiota dysbiosis — imbalances in the composition and function
of these intestinal microbes — is associated with diseases ranging from localized
gastroenterologic disorders to neurologic, respiratory, metabolic, hepatic, and
cardiovascular illnesses. Much effort is currently concentrated on exploring potential
causality and related microbiota-mediated disease mechanisms, with the hope
that an improved understanding will fuel the conception and realization of novel
therapeutic and preventive strategies.”

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Tuberculosis- drug resistant- online learning, mailing lists and references

Courtesy of Dr Suman Majumdar, Dr Catherine Berry and others.


TB drug monographs :  up-to-date clinical profiles of TB drugs including guidance on monitoring of therapy- Recommended

Online Training for drug-resistant TB

Mailing lists

Websites / organizations

Other references & Resources

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