Acid Fast Bacilli Test
What is acid-fast bacilli (AFB) test?
The acid-fast bacilli (AFB) test is a laboratory procedure used to detect the presence of acid-fast bacteria in a sample. Acid-fast bacteria are a group of bacteria that have a unique cell wall structure, which makes them resistant to certain staining techniques used in microbiology.
The AFB test is commonly used to diagnose tuberculosis (TB), as the bacterium that causes TB, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is an acid-fast bacterium. This test can also diagnose other types of mycobacterial infections, such as leprosy and some forms of atypical mycobacterial infections.
During the AFB test, a sample (such as sputum or a tissue sample) is collected and treated with a special staining technique involving heat and acid. Acid-fast bacteria will retain the stain despite the treatment, while other bacteria will not. The stained sample is then examined under a microscope to look for the presence of acid-fast bacilli.
If acid-fast bacilli are present in the sample, further tests may be done to identify the specific type of bacteria and determine the appropriate treatment. The AFB test is an important tool in the diagnosis and management of mycobacterial infections.