Serological diagnosis of infections

Although not often useful for the management of critically ill patients, serology can be important in providing a diagnosis during convalescence. However, the diagnosis of HIV infections is usually made serologically. Acute-phase sera should be collected whenever possible in patients with febrile illnesses, and convalescent samples should be drawn 1 to 6 weeks later. There are many techniques for detecting antibodies, and commercial reagents are increasingly available. Examples of infections causing severe illness that can be diagnosed serologically include typhoid fever, brucellosis, legionnaires' disease, many acute viral diseases, histoplasmosis, rickettsial typhus and spotted fevers, toxoplasmosis, and amoebiasis.

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