woman preparing a swab for a lab test

Lab Tests That Can Detect Infection

Different types of lab tests yield different information, and each type is crucial in the identification of illnesses. An infection may be determined by looking for elevated white blood cells, which can be seen using the CBC test. Although complete health and hormone panels are unable to identify infections directly, deviations in a number of indicators may provide hinting indications. Iron and ferritin levels seen in anemia panels can identify changes in iron metabolism brought on by infections. The need for early detection using these tests to enable timely treatment, reduce complications, and stop the spread of illnesses emphasizes the need of routine check-ups and proactive health management.

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In the diagnosis and prevention of infections, laboratory tests play a crucial role in modern medical diagnostics. By identifying the presence of pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and fungi, these tests assist medical professionals in making accurate and timely diagnosis of infections. In order to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, provide timely and appropriate treatment, and ultimately safeguard the public’s health, early detection is essential.

woman preparing a swab for a lab test

Comprehensive Wellness Panel Lab Test

A range of tests are included in the Comprehensive Wellness Panel Lab test, which can be helpful in monitoring overall health and identifying illnesses. Some of the elements in this panel assist in the identification of viruses in the following ways:

CBC (Complete Blood Count)

White blood cells in the CBC are an important sign of infection. The body’s initial line of defense against infections is made up of white blood cells. Leukocytosis, another name for a high WBC count, is often a sign that the body is battling an infection.

A differential provided by the CBC classifies a variety of white blood cell types, including neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils.1 Each kind may indicate a different form of infection. For instance, an increase in neutrophils is often indicative of a bacterial infection, whereas an increase in lymphocytes is more often associated with viral infections.23

Each kind might denote a distinct sort of infection. A spike in neutrophils, for example, frequently indicates a bacterial infection, whereas a rise in lymphocytes is more commonly detected in viral infections.

Hemoglobin and hematocrit are two other CBC components that might be affected by infections. Anemia, for instance, might sporadically be brought on by persistent illnesses.

CMP (Comprehensive Metabolic Panel)

Organ function may be impacted by infections. A kidney infection, for example, may produce abnormal kidney function tests in the CMP.4 Similar to this, hepatitis and other liver diseases can provide incorrect results on liver function tests.

Electrolyte imbalances, such as abnormalities in sodium or potassium levels, can be caused by infections, especially those that cause vomiting or diarrhea.5 The CMP can detect these imbalances.

The body may experience stress responses brought on by infections, which can raise blood sugar levels. This is particularly important for diabetics since infections can drastically affect how well blood sugar is managed.

HS CRP (High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein)

The liver creates CRP when there is acute inflammation, which can be brought on by infections.6 An elevated level of HS CRP is a sensitive and non-specific indicator of internal inflammation.

In certain cases, CRP levels can be correlated with the severity of an illness. Elevated amounts might indicate a more severe medical condition.

Additionally, the effectiveness of a therapy can be evaluated with HS CRP. When CRP levels decline, the body is often successfully fighting off the sickness.

Male and Female Hormone Lab Test

The primary sign that can identify infections is the CBC, which is tested for in both the male and female hormone lab tests. The cortisol levels are another aspect of these blood tests that may point to an infection.

This is the easiest and most crucial part of diagnosing disorders. The CBC test includes a white blood cell (WBC) count, which is crucial for figuring out how the body responds to infections immunologically. A higher WBC count or variations in the various types of white blood cells (lymphocytes, monocytes, and neutrophils) might be indicators of an infection. Neutrophils often rise in bacterial infections, although viral infections can cause a rise in lymphocytes.

Although it cannot be used to diagnose illnesses directly, cortisol can provide oblique symptoms.7 One stress hormone that increases in response to physical stress, such as sickness, is cortisol. Increased cortisol levels might be a sign of an inflammatory or infectious response to a physiological stressor. Contrarily, cortisol levels are affected by a number of factors and need to be assessed cautiously.8

Anemia Lab Test

The CBC test, the primary method for identifying infection, is part of the anemia lab test; however, there are a few more subtests included in this test that can also identify infection.

The protein ferritin stores iron in the body and controls its release. It is a significant indicator of the body’s iron content. Infection or inflammation can cause ferritin levels to increase as part of the body’s acute phase response.9 Since many bacteria and viruses need iron to grow, this increase is a defense mechanism that restricts the amount of iron that infections may access.

If elevated ferritin levels in the context of an illness are interpreted as a sign of large iron stores, they may be misleading. Because of this, ferritin levels have to be assessed in conjunction with other iron assays, particularly when inflammation or chronic infections are present.

Hemoglobin, the oxygen-transporting protein found in red blood cells, cannot be made without iron. It is also necessary for several other biological functions. Iron levels may decrease after long-term illnesses.10 This is a sign of chronic disease-related anemia (ACD) and is brought on by the body’s attempt to make iron less available to infections. ACD is often detected in association with autoimmune diseases, inflammation, or recurrent infections.

When monitoring iron levels, remember that low iron may not be a traditional case of iron deficiency anemia, but rather a response to an underlying infection or inflammatory condition.

This is an inventory of every blood protein, particularly transferrin, that has the ability to bind iron. TIBC is used to test transferrin indirectly. It’s a protein that helps the body absorb and use iron. Transferrin facilitates the effective distribution of iron to different parts of the body under normal circumstances.

In cases of chronic infection or inflammation, the body may decrease transferrin production as a defense mechanism to reduce the amount of iron available to pathogens.11 TIBC decreases as a result of this inhibition. In the context of an illness, a low TIBC might be more indicative of an inflammatory reaction than of actual iron overload. Assessing this measure in conjunction with ferritin and iron levels is essential for comprehending the state of the body’s iron metabolism.


Laboratory testing plays a critical role in the early diagnosis of ailments in modern medicine. Healthcare professionals can use a range of tests, from CBC and CMP to more specialist panels like hormone and anemia testing, to rapidly and accurately detect infections. The importance of early diagnosis cannot be overstated. It makes early treatment possible, which lessens the danger of repercussions and the infection’s duration and intensity. Additionally, early sickness diagnosis can aid in halting the spread of certain ailments, which is crucial for managing public health. These laboratory tests emphasize the value of regular check-ups and early intervention in maintaining overall well-being. They are more than just diagnostic tools; they are crucial parts of proactive health management.

Get your at Home Lab Test with Concierge MD

If you need a lab test but want to avoid traveling to the doctor’s office, consider Concierge MD as an option. We are a licensed mobile healthcare provider with a wide range of services, including lab testing. You can make an appointment online or over the phone for one of our healthcare specialists to visit you in your home and collect samples for one of our many accessible lab tests:

  • Wellness Panel
  • Male Hormone
  • Female Hormone
  • STD Panel
  • Thyroid Panel
  • Anemia Panel
  • Food Sensitivity
  • Genetic Cancer Screening
  • Micronutrient
  • Gut Microbiome
  • Inflammation Panel
  • Heavy Metal Panel
  • Sleep and Stress Panel
  • Urinary Health Panel
  • Vaginal Health Panel
  • and more… 

Our staff will assure the safe delivery of samples to our lab. When your results are ready, we can assist you in interpreting them and help you move forward toward a better self. Concierge MD is a private and professional healthcare service that focuses on you. Contact us immediately to order your lab testing!


[1] Understanding the complete blood count with differential. George-Gay B.

[2] The Essential Role of Neutrophils During Infection with the Intracellular Bacterial Pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. Witter AR.

[3] Lymphopenia Caused by Virus Infections and the Mechanisms Beyond. Guo Z.

[4] Infectious Diseases and the Kidney. Herberg J.

[5] Electrolyte imbalance in infectious disease patients at King Abdulaziz Hospital, Jeddah. Albeladi FI.

[6] C Reactive Protein. Nehring SM.

[7] Physiology, Cortisol. Thau L.

[8] Lifestyle, stress and cortisol response: Review II. Fukuda S.

[9] Ferritin: An Inflammatory Player Keeping Iron at the Core of Pathogen-Host Interactions. Moreira AC.

[10] Influence of Inflammatory Disorders and Infection on Iron Absorption and Efficacy of Iron- Fortified Foods. Hurrell RF.

[11] Transferrin and ferritin response to bacterial infection: the role of the liver and brain in fish. Neves JV.

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