W. David Colby IV MSc MD FRCPC


Sputum Culture

Sputum is a thick fluid made in the lungs and in the airways leading to the lungs. A sputum culture is a test to find germs (such as bacteria or a fungus ) that can cause an infection. A sample of sputum is added to a substance that promotes the growth of germs. If no germs grow, the culture is negative. If germs that…

BK Virus

The BK virus is a virus that mainly infects the kidneys and urinary tract. Most people get infected with the BK virus sometime during their life. Infection with the BK virus rarely causes symptoms, except in people who have a weakened immune system. Most of the problems from the BK virus are seen in people who have had…

Lyme Disease: Role of Blood Tests

If you were exposed to ticks and you get an expanding, circular rash (erythema migrans), your doctor may treat you for Lyme disease without doing a blood test. Blood tests done in the first few weeks may not show Lyme disease even when you have the illness. This is because the body’s immune system responds slowly to the…

Malaria

Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite that can infect people’s red blood cells. The parasite is spread to people by the bites of infected mosquitoes. Most malaria infections cause fever and other flu-like symptoms (such as chills, muscle pain, and diarrhea) that may come and go in cycles. A severe form of malaria…

Chronic Lyme Arthritis

Chronic Lyme arthritis is a recurring form of joint inflammation caused by Lyme disease, a bacterial infection that is spread through tick bites. Symptoms of chronic Lyme arthritis include episodes of swelling, redness, and fluid buildup in one or more joints that last up to 6 months at a time. When a person is not…