Experience in setting up an inexpensive microbiology laboratory in the Bangladesh National Society for the Blind Eye Hospital and Training Complex at Chittagong is presented, together with the results of a pilot study to identify organisms responsible in 33 consecutive cases of suppurative keratitis in the Chittagong area of Bangladesh. Of the 33 cases 21 were positively identified by means of Gram stain and/or culture. Two-thirds of the responsible organisms were bacteria, and one-third were fungi. The bacterial causes included Streptococcus pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The fungi isolated were Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus ochraceus, and Fusarium solani. Among the causes of failure to diagnose the organism was chronicity of infection and previous treatment. The value of the study in the planning of future treatment regimens, and the implications of setting up similar relatively cheap microbiology laboratory facilities in developing countries, are discussed.
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