The SMRU Microbiology department, located in Mae Sot, was established in 2006 to provide a diagnostic service for the SMRU patient population and to facilitate research on regionally important non-malaria infectious diseases. Since then it has expanded to include the malaria molecular team. This department carries out a wide range of routine, surveillance and research activities in collaboration with the Oxford Tropical Network and other organisations as summarised below.
The department is staffed by one Laboratory Microbiologist (department head), two senior laboratory technicians, seven laboratory technicians, and two laboratory assistants; with the addition of visiting students and volunteers. It participates in a number of external quality assurance schemes and is an active member of the MORU Tropical Health Network Clinical Microbiology Group, which aims include harmonising standard operating procedures across the network.
- Diagnosis of infectious diseases using microscopy, culture, serology and molecular methods;
- Antibiotic sensitivity profiling for treatment and surveillance purposes;
- Evaluation of diagnostic tests for acute undifferentiated febrile illness on the Thailand-Myanmar border;
- Influenza and bacteraemia surveillance in the refugee and migrant populations on the Thailand-Myanmar border (part funded by the CDC);
- Providing microbiological support the for the SMRU Tuberculosis programs;
- Providing microbiological support for SMRU maternal and child health activities, for example routine antenatal urine screening was introduced in 2012 for all pregnant women;
- Performance of molecular assays for malaria including the qPCRs that contribute to the activities of the Malaria Elimination Task Force