Wednesday 31 May 2023

Real-Time PCR: Unveiling the Importance of CT Value in Infectious Disease Treatment



      Infectious diseases continue to pose a significant threat to public health globally. The ability to rapidly and accurately diagnose these diseases is crucial for effective treatment and containment. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has revolutionized the field of infectious disease diagnostics, allowing for precise and timely detection of pathogens. One of the key parameters derived from real-time PCR analysis is the CT value, which holds immense importance in guiding treatment decisions and monitoring disease progression. This article aims to explore the concept of real-time PCR and delve into the significance of the CT value in the context of infectious disease treatment.

Understanding Real-Time PCR:

       Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a laboratory technique used to amplify a specific segment of DNA or RNA from a complex mixture. Traditional PCR involves multiple cycles of amplification and requires a separate step for detecting the amplified product post-amplification. Real-time PCR, also known as quantitative PCR (qPCR), is an advanced version that allows the detection of amplified DNA or RNA in real-time as the reaction progresses. This real-time monitoring is achieved by incorporating fluorescent dyes or probes into the reaction mixture.

     Real-time PCR is a highly sensitive and specific technique that enables the rapid identification and quantification of nucleic acids. It is widely employed for diagnosing various infectious diseases, including viral, bacterial, and fungal infections. By targeting specific regions of the pathogen's genetic material, real-time PCR can confirm the presence of the infectious agent with high accuracy.

The Significance of the CT Value:

      The CT value, also referred to as the cycle threshold or quantification cycle (Cq), is a crucial parameter derived from real-time PCR analysis. It represents the cycle number at which the fluorescence signal generated by the amplification reaches a specific threshold level. The CT value is inversely proportional to the amount of target nucleic acid initially present in the sample. A lower CT value indicates a higher initial target concentration, while a higher CT value suggests a lower initial target concentration.

      In the context of infectious disease treatment, the CT value holds significant importance for several reasons:

1. Diagnostic Potential: 

      The CT value provides a quantitative measure of the pathogen's load in a clinical sample. By comparing the CT value obtained from a patient's sample to established reference ranges, clinicians can determine whether an infection is present, aiding in accurate diagnosis.

2. Monitoring Disease Progression:

      During the course of an infection, the CT value can serve as an indicator of disease progression or response to treatment. A decreasing CT value over time suggests a reduction in pathogen load, indicating successful treatment. Conversely, an increasing CT value may indicate treatment failure or the emergence of drug resistance.

3. Treatment Guidance: 

      The CT value can help guide treatment decisions, particularly in the case of viral infections. Different viral infections have varying levels of virulence and response to antiviral medications. By monitoring the CT value over time, clinicians can assess the effectiveness of antiviral therapy and make adjustments accordingly.

4. Contagiousness Assessment

         The CT value can provide insights into the contagiousness of an individual infected with a particular pathogen. Lower CT values indicate higher viral loads and suggest that the patient may be more contagious. This information can assist in implementing appropriate infection control measures to limit the spread of the disease.

5. Prognostic Indicator:

       In some cases, the CT value has been correlated with the severity of the disease and patient outcomes. Studies have shown that a higher CT value at the time of diagnosis may be associated with a milder course of illness, while a lower CT value may indicate a higher risk of complications or adverse outcomes.


      Real-time PCR has revolutionized infectious disease diagnostics, providing rapid and accurate detection of pathogens.

Saturday 27 May 2023

What is Blood Culture in ID Diagnostics ?

As a medical professional, it's important to understand the role of blood culture in diagnosing and treating various infections. Blood culture is a diagnostic test that involves collecting a sample of blood from a patient and culturing it to identify the presence of bacteria or other microorganisms that may be causing an infection. In this blog, we will discuss the importance of blood culture, how it is performed, and what factors can affect its accuracy.

Why is Blood Culture Important?

Blood culture is an important diagnostic tool in the field of medicine as it helps in identifying the causative agent of an infection. It is particularly useful in cases where the source of infection is unknown, or where the clinical symptoms are not specific enough to suggest a particular type of infection. Blood culture can also help in identifying the extent of the infection and determining the appropriate course of treatment.

How is Blood Culture Performed?

Blood culture is performed by collecting a sample of blood from a patient and culturing it in a laboratory. The sample is usually collected through a sterile needle that is inserted into a vein in the arm or hand. The collected blood is then placed into several culture bottles that contain a nutrient-rich growth medium. The culture bottles are then placed in an incubator where they are kept at a temperature that is optimal for the growth of microorganisms. The bottles are checked regularly for the growth of microorganisms, and if any are detected, they are identified and tested for antibiotic susceptibility.

Factors That Affect the Accuracy of Blood Culture-

Although blood culture is a highly accurate diagnostic test, there are several factors that can affect its accuracy. One of the most important factors is the timing of the sample collection. Blood culture should be performed as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms to increase the chances of detecting the causative agent. If the sample is collected too late, the microorganisms may no longer be present in the bloodstream, making it difficult to identify the infection.

Another important factor that can affect the accuracy of blood culture is the collection technique. The sample should be collected using a sterile needle and syringe to prevent contamination with bacteria from the skin. The skin should also be cleaned thoroughly with an antiseptic solution before the sample is collected.

Finally, the accuracy of blood culture can be affected by the type of microorganism that is causing the infection. Some microorganisms are more difficult to culture than others, and may require special growth media or longer incubation times to be detected.


Blood culture is an important diagnostic tool in the field of medicine. It helps in identifying the causative agent of an infection and determining the appropriate course of treatment. While blood culture is a highly accurate test, several factors can affect its accuracy, including the timing of the sample collection, the collection technique, and the type of microorganism causing the infection. As a medical professional, it's important to understand these factors and take steps to minimize their impact on the accuracy of blood culture results.

Friday 26 May 2023

Understanding Enteric Fever: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment


      Enteric fever, also known as typhoid fever, is a bacterial infection primarily caused by Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi (S. Typhi) and, less commonly, by Salmonella enterica serotype Paratyphi (S. Paratyphi). It is a significant public health concern, particularly in regions with poor sanitation and limited access to clean water. In this blog, we will explore the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for enteric fever.

1. Causes of Enteric Fever:

      Enteric fever is primarily caused by consuming food or water contaminated with the Salmonella bacteria. The bacteria can survive in fecal matter, and transmission occurs through the oral-fecal route. Common causes of enteric fever include:

a) Contaminated Water: Drinking water contaminated with the Salmonella bacteria, typically from poor sanitation or sewage systems, is a significant source of infection.

b) Contaminated Food: Consuming food prepared under unhygienic conditions or using contaminated water for washing can lead to the ingestion of Salmonella bacteria.

c) Carrier Individuals: Individuals who have recovered from enteric fever but continue to harbor the bacteria in their gallbladder can be carriers and spread the infection to others.

2. Symptoms of Enteric Fever:

    Enteric fever is characterized by a wide range of symptoms, which can vary in severity. Common symptoms include:

a) High Fever: Sustained high fever, often gradually increasing over a few days, is a hallmark of enteric fever.

b) Gastrointestinal Symptoms: Abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation are common gastrointestinal symptoms associated with enteric fever.

c) Headache and Body Aches: Intense headache, body aches, and general malaise are frequently experienced by individuals with enteric fever.

d) Weakness and Fatigue: Persistent weakness and fatigue are common, leading to a significant impact on daily activities.

e) Rose Spots: A distinctive rash of rose-colored spots may appear on the trunk or abdomen in some individuals.

3. Diagnosis of Enteric Fever:

       Prompt and accurate diagnosis is crucial for effective management of enteric fever. Common diagnostic methods include:

a) Blood Culture: Isolating the bacteria from a blood sample is the gold standard for diagnosing enteric fever. 

b) Stool Culture: Testing a stool sample can help identify carriers or individuals with milder symptoms.

c) Serological Tests: Antibody-based tests, such as the Widal test, may be used to detect specific antibodies against Salmonella.

4. Treatment of Enteric Fever:

Enteric fever requires medical intervention, and treatment typically involves the following:

a) Antibiotics: Antibiotics like fluoroquinolones or third-generation cephalosporins are commonly prescribed to kill the Salmonella bacteria. However, antibiotic resistance is a growing concern, and treatment choices may vary based on local resistance patterns.

b) Supportive Care: Adequate hydration, rest, and maintaining a balanced diet are essential for recovery. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help manage fever and body aches.

c) Prevention: Vaccination against S. Typhi is available and recommended in areas with a high incidence of enteric fever. Additionally, practicing good hygiene, including handwashing and consuming safe food and water, is crucial in preventing the spread of the disease.


     Enteric fever, caused by Salmonella bacteria, is a significant health issue in many parts of the world. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment with antibiotics are essential for a successful recovery. Additionally, preventive measures such as vaccination, maintaining good hygiene practices, and ensuring access to safe food and water play a vital role in reducing the incidence of enteric fever. If you experience symptoms suggestive of enteric fever, it is important to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Thursday 25 May 2023

Community acquired Pneumonia - What should you know ?


      Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is a common and potentially serious respiratory infection that affects individuals who have not been hospitalized or living in a long-term care facility within 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms. CAP can be caused by a variety of pathogens including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. In this article, we will discuss the epidemiology, etiology, pathophysiology, clinical features, diagnosis, and management of CAP.


       CAP is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. It is estimated that approximately 4 million cases of CAP occur annually in the United States, resulting in over 1 million hospitalizations and 50,000 deaths. The incidence of CAP increases with age, with the highest rates observed among individuals over the age of 65. Other risk factors for CAP include chronic lung disease, heart disease, immunosuppression, and smoking.


                The etiology of CAP varies depending on the patient population, geographic location, and season. The most common bacterial pathogens responsible for CAP include Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and atypical bacteria such as Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia pneumoniae, and Legionella pneumophila. Viral pathogens such as influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus, and adenovirus are also common causes of CAP, particularly in children. Fungal pathogens such as Pneumocystis jirovecii and Histoplasma capsulatum may cause CAP in immunocompromised individuals.


          CAP typically begins with the inhalation of a pathogen, which then colonizes the upper respiratory tract. If the host's immune defenses are compromised, the pathogen may spread to the lower respiratory tract and cause pneumonia. The pathophysiology of CAP involves an inflammatory response in the lungs, leading to alveolar damage, impaired gas exchange, and respiratory failure in severe cases.

Clinical Features-

     The clinical presentation of CAP can vary depending on the underlying pathogen, patient age, and comorbidities. Common symptoms include cough, fever, dyspnea, chest pain, and sputum production. Physical examination may reveal tachypnea, crackles on lung auscultation, and signs of respiratory distress. In severe cases, sepsis, shock, and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) may develop.


    The diagnosis of CAP is based on a combination of clinical features, laboratory tests, and imaging studies. Chest radiography is the most commonly used imaging modality to diagnose CAP, with typical findings including lobar or segmental consolidation, pleural effusions, and interstitial infiltrates.
    Blood cultures, sputum cultures, and respiratory viral panels may also be obtained to identify the underlying pathogen. In severe cases, arterial blood gas analysis and bronchoscopy with bronchoalveolar lavage may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis.


       The management of CAP depends on the severity of the illness and the underlying pathogen. Empirical antibiotic therapy should be initiated promptly for all patients with suspected CAP, with selection based on local resistance patterns and patient factors such as comorbidities and recent antibiotic use. Supportive care including oxygen therapy, bronchodilators, and fluid resuscitation should also be provided as needed. In severe cases, mechanical ventilation and vasopressor support may be necessary. Vaccination against S. pneumoniae and influenza have often proved helpful in decreasing the clinical severity of pneumonia in susceptible individuals. 

FAQs of CAP - 

a) What are the major causes of community acquired pnuemoniae ?  
   Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae,Moraxella catarrhalis, Chlamydia pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Legionella species.

b) What is the most common treatment regimen of community acquired pneumoniae ? 
Depending on the local antibiotic policy, diagnostic parameters and patient's clinical condition 14 day regimen of Injection Ceftriaxone/Cefotaxime/Amoxicillin with or without addition of a macrolide like Azithromycin/Clarithromycin or Doxycline is considered as the treatment of choice. Iatroconazole can be considered if there is high degree suspicion of histoplasmosis or coccidioidomycosis. Treatment with Oseltamivir is considered for 5 days when respiratory secretions are Real Time RT-PCR positive for Influenza. 

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Wednesday 24 May 2023

Hypertension - A silent killer ?

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the force of blood against the walls of the arteries is too high, which can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease and stroke. Fortunately, hypertension can be managed through a combination of lifestyle changes and medication.

Lifestyle Changes

The first step in managing hypertension is making lifestyle changes. These changes include:

1. Diet: Eating a healthy diet that is low in saturated and trans fats, salt, and added sugars can help manage hypertension. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats such as olive oil can be beneficial. 

2. Exercise: Regular exercise can help lower blood pressure and improve overall health. It is recommended that adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming.

3. Weight management: Maintaining a healthy weight can help manage hypertension. Losing even a small amount of weight can make a big difference in blood pressure levels.

4. Stress management: Stress can increase blood pressure, so managing stress through techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing can be helpful.

5. Quit smoking: Smoking can increase blood pressure and damage the walls of the blood vessels. Quitting smoking can help manage hypertension and improve overall health.


In addition to lifestyle changes, medication may be necessary to manage hypertension. There are several types of medication that can be prescribed by a healthcare professional:

1. Diuretics: These medications help the body get rid of excess salt and water, which can lower blood pressure.

2. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors: These medications block the production of a hormone that narrows blood vessels, which can lower blood pressure.

3. Calcium channel blockers: These medications relax blood vessels, which can lower blood pressure.

4. Beta-blockers: These medications slow the heart rate and reduce the force of the heart's contractions, which can lower blood pressure.

5. Renin inhibitors: These medications block the production of renin, a hormone that can narrow blood vessels and increase blood pressure.

It is important to work closely with a healthcare professional to determine the best medication and dosage for managing hypertension.


Hypertension is a common condition that can lead to serious health problems if left unmanaged. Fortunately, hypertension can be managed through a combination of lifestyle changes and medication. By making healthy lifestyle choices and working closely with a healthcare professional, people with hypertension can lower their blood pressure and reduce their risk of complications.

Health Tips for Summer and Monsoon - Must know points

     Summer is at peak in most of the Indian states now with temperature peaking at 40-45 deg celcius. On top of that, monsoon is also knocking at door which essentially means weather will be hot and humid over most of the eastern , sounthern, north eastern parts of the country over next few months. This particular climate condition is often suitable for transmission of different tropical infections like infectious gastroenteritis like Non Typhoidal Salmonellosis, Shigellosis, Malaria, Scrub Typhus along with upper respiratory infections of diverse etiology. 

How to maintain health in summer season ? 

- Wear loose fitting cotton garments preferably of light colour which have got lower rate of UV rays absorbtion.
- Keep yourself hydrated with plenty of water. Minimum water intake should be such that urine output remains at 0.5-1mL/kg/hr for a healthy adult individual.
Fluids with added sugar, preservatives, artificial falvouring substances, caffeine etc should be avoided. 
- Sunglasses, Skin Protective gloves, Sunscreen with SPF >30 should be used while going outdoor. 
- Less oily , Less spicy food should be on the preference list as these foods are easy on the stomach for digestion in these summer months. 

How is summer healthier than winter ?
    Winter is often cozy than summer months for most of the individuals. Winter is also the most favourite season for picnics, hangouts, tourism etc for most of us. Having said that, summer has its own advantages. Increased sun exposure boosts our Vitamin D levels , reduces oxidative stress and boosts our serotonin levels. On top of that there is relatively decreased risk for acute coronary syndrome, cerebrovascular incidents etc due to overall vasodilatated state with lesser sympathetic drive specially in vulnerable group of elderly patients. 

Treatment of Common ailments in Summer -

     Before you visit Doctor for treatment, do not forget to follow some basic practices. If you are suffering from loose motion take plenty of ORS( 1 full sachet in 1 L water) and for febrile spells take Paracetamol Tablets 650 twice daily. Beyond that never self medicate or buy over the counter medicines. Do consult your Doctor for appropriate treatment regimen for faster recovery. 

We wish you a very healthy & pleasant monsoon season ahead. 

If you have any health related query feel free to share your concern at 
and we will be more than happy to help.