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National mycobacterium reference service (NMRS)

The National mycobacterium reference service (NMRS) in Birmingham is part of a network regional laboratories, 2 in England and 1 in Wales.  It is the largest TB laboratory in the Midlands and receives specimens from 39 other laboratories throughout the West and East Midlands. 

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is still a significant respiratory infection and TB cases have increased over the last twenty years.  Our results not only help with rapid patient diagnosis and treatment but also contribute to national and local surveillance programmes.

We provide primary testing of sputum, urine, tissue and other respiratory samples for Mycobacterium tuberculosis for the University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) as well as a number of other local trusts.  The laboratory also uses the latest techniques, such as liquid culture and a range of molecular methods to provide full identification, antibiotic susceptibility testing and epidemiological typing of Mycobacterial isolates. 

We also provide a rapid TB detection test directly from respiratory samples or tissue without the need to grow the organism first and we are using whole genome sequencing which has revolutionised the diagnosis of Mycobacteria species.


Operational Lead: Mrs Priti Rathod

Clinical Lead: Esther Robinson

A complete list of currently available assays can be found in the pathology test database

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