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May 2014

Best Tests

The New Zealand Laboratory Schedule and Test Guidelines: Microbiological and Serological Tests

In October, 2013, the New Zealand Laboratory Test Schedule was published to provide consistent guidance and ensure uniform availability of tests across all District Health Boards (DHBs). The new Schedule divides tests into Tier 1 and Tier 2 to indicate whether all referrers can order the test, i.e. Tier 1, or whether a test must be ordered in conjunction with another health professional with a particular area of expertise, i.e. Tier 2. In this third article of an ongoing series we focus on the new Laboratory Schedule and Guidelines in relation to microbiological and serological tests for infectious diseases. View Article

Rural infections series: Rural round up

In the final instalment of the rural series we present a round-up of infections that may be seen in patients living in, working in or visiting a rural environment. Most of these infections will be rarely encountered, but it is useful to be aware of their features and recommended management. View Article

The changing face of Helicobacter pylori testing

There is ongoing debate in the literature about which is the best test to request for the detection of infection with Helicobacter pylori. The most appropriate test is influenced by several factors, such as the pre-test probability of H.pylori infection (reflected by prevalence), the patient’s specific clinical circumstances and the cost and availability of the test.1 In New Zealand, like many other countries, the advice has changed over recent years, however, the current thinking is that the H. pylori faecal antigen test is now the preferred option in patients who require investigation for H. pylori (see: “The New Zealand Schedule and Test Guidelines update). Infection with H. pylori is known to increase the risk of peptic ulcer disease and gastric cancer due to chronic inflammation and atrophy of the stomach mucosa.2 View Article