Serology is used to detect antibodies of a microbe in blood tests. Some microorganisms cause the body to create antibodies in an active infection. Serology is performed by drawing blood from a vein. The draw site is cleaned with an antiseptic. The phlebotomist then gently places a needle into a raised vein.
Blood collects in a vial or needle-attached tube, and the phlebotomist covers the puncture area with a sterile pad. In small children, a lancet and pipette may be used to collect blood for serology. Most people report little to no pain when blood is drawn. Others say they feel a slight sting or prick as the needle is inserted into the skin.
Blood Test Analysis
The patient’s collected blood is analyzed in a lab to identify the reaction of antibodies and specific antigens. Serology kits may be used at that point to easily confirm specific types of microorganisms in the patient’s blood.
Various serology techniques may be used depending on the type of antibody evaluation performed. Agglutination, fluorescent antibodies, precipitation, and complement fixation are some of the techniques most commonly used.
A serology tests is used to determine if the patient has been previously infected with or exposed to a specific microbe. The presence of antibodies may indicate a prior infection. Normal results indicate that no antibodies were found in the patient’s blood sample.
Serology may be useful to diagnose active or prior infections. Testing can also help the patient’s doctor to know if he or she is immune to a microbe. If an active infection is suspected, the doctor may order a repeat test one to two weeks after the fist test.
When antibodies are identified in the patient’s blood sample, he or she may have a current infection or have been previous infected.
Rapid tests are used to help lab technicians quickly and accurately test the patient’s blood for the presence of certain proteins or factors. For instance, it is possible to test the blood for C-Reactive Protein (CRP). A positive result may indicate the presence of inflammation in the patient’s body.
Test kits may also be used to identify autoimmune factors such as Rheumatoid Factor (RF) or Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). Anti-streptolysin O (ASO) titers indicate the presence of streptococcal infection. A mono test kit helps the technician identify or rule out infectious mononucleosis.