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Surprisingly, testing methods in the area of urine culture testing have not been significantly improved for well over a century. Microbiologists have relied on agar plates for urine cultures since the 1880’s, and have been subject (as have doctors and patients who rely on lab results) to the many limitations of the agar plate testing methodology:
Because the lab results for urine cultures are not available for 24-72 hours and are frequently unreliable due to inconsistent sample custody and other issues with the plating methodology, doctors often have no choice but to prescribe a broad spectrum antibiotic to patients symptomatic of urinary tract infections or other infections without the benefit of timely and reliable test results. Those patients who find out 2-3 days later that they do not have a UTI or other infection are therefore unnecessarily subjected to a broad spectrum (and expensive) antibiotic and may require additional medical testing for an ailment that has had an extra few days to cause harm.
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