The microbiology laboratory of the Sainte-Justine Hospital was created in 1954 on the initiative of Dr. Bernard Martineau, who also was responsible for creating the province’s first hospital virology laboratory thanks to the Biermans Foundation.
Under the leadership of Drs. Jean Joncas, Serge Montplaisir, Lucette Lafleur and Céline Laferrière, the UHC Sainte-Justine’s bacteriology, virology and immunology laboratories gradually expanded in order to further meet the hospital’s clinical needs.
The significant changes that the medical field experienced during the 1990s had serious repercussions on the area of microbiology-infectious diseases. Organ and bone marrow transplants have been faced with immunological complications, complex infectious diseases as well as the appearance of multiresistant bacteria. New viruses have surfaced and new anti-infectants such as antifungal and antiviral agents have also come about. Challenges to public health such as bioterrorist threats, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the threat of an influenza pandemic called for the implementation of stricter infection prevention measures in hospitals.
The Department of Microbiology’s first goal was to streamline laboratory activities to meet clinical needs by implementing a quality assurance, quality control and technological assessment process. The second goal was to shift its technology to molecular medicine, which plays an important role in today’s field of microbiology. The third goal was to increase diagnostic support in the areas of immunology and virology.
Parallel to this, the pediatric infectiologists in the Department of Pediatrics collaborated with the Department of Microbiology in the development of an ultra-specialized pediatric infectious diseases program.
The Department of Microbiology is focussing its efforts in the areas of technological assessments, congenital and perinatal infections, infection prevention and childhood immune disorders. Whether it is by providing diagnostic support, education or relevant clinical research for mothers and children, contributing to the UHC Sainte-Justine’s mission continues to be a priority for the Department of Microbiology.