Caroline and Andy visit the Irish Meningococcal and Meningitis Reference Laboratory
The Irish Meningococcal and Meningitis Reference Laboratory at the Children’s Hospital, Temple Street Dublin.
Our Medical Information Officer, Caroline, and Medical Affairs Coordinator, Andy, were recently given the opportunity to visit the Irish Meningococcal and Meningitis Reference Laboratory (IMMRL) and the Epidemiology and Molecular Biology Unit (EMBU) based at the Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street Dublin.
In 1996 the Department of Health made funding available to the Children's Hospital, Temple Street to establish a national Meningococcal Reference Laboratory. Since then improved diagnostic procedures and the establishment of the lab have resulted in definitive diagnosis, recording and monitoring of all cases of meningococcal infections in Ireland.
The IMMRL provides a national service for DNA-based diagnosis of invasive disease with Neisseria meningitidis, Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae and the Group B streptococcus. Laboratory diagnosis is made using culture and non-culture methods on samples of blood, cerebrospinal fluid and from skin scrapings. All isolates received by the IMMRL are also typed to determine the serogroup.
This visit was a great opportunity for us to meet the team behind the lab and see the futuristic machinery that is used to test the samples. It was also interesting to learn how different members of the team specialise in different disease types
A big thank you to Dr Rob Cunney, Desiree Bennett and all the staff we met who answered our many questions. We really learnt a lot. Both labs provide an invaluable service and highlight the need for continuous funding to be made available for research.