Packaging and Shipping Infectious Substances
The Public Health Laboratory is once again providing training on the packaging and shipping of infectious substances. Courses this year will be held in Sioux Falls and Rapid City. Please register for this important training at: doh.sd.gov/Calendar/ShippingClass.pdf.
The South Dakota Public Health Laboratory is pleased to announce that we have recently acquired the Gen-Probe Panther for Chlamydia/Gonorrhea testing. The system still uses the Gen-Probe Aptima Combo 2 method, but is a completely automated system. We are excited to have this new instrument on board.
Currently, we have validated these sources as approved sites for testing: cervical, urethral, vaginal, rectal, pharyngeal, and urine. The approved sites now include vaginal, rectal and pharyngeal sources which were not previously validated. Unfortunately, due to a lack of validation specimens for the Panther, we are unable to validate eye specimens, so we are no longer able to provide this service.
The South Dakota Public Health Laboratory performs Gonorrhea culture on eye specimens, but does not offer culture for Chlamydia testing. If you require Chlamydia culture, we will help you work with the Montana Public Health Laboratory as they do offer Chlamydia culture of eye specimens. Another option is to work with your reference laboratory as several commercial laboratories will perform CT/GC testing on eye specimens. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause for your facility.
Influenza activity in the State is now rated as sporadic. Only two laboratory confirmed cases were reported last week, bringing the season total to 992 confirmed cases. Our surveillance information can be found at doh.sd.gov/Flu/Surveillance.aspx.
Of concern is the emerging influenza virus H7N9. CDC is supplying public health laboratories with reagents for RT-PCR analysis of the virus. The latest H7N9 diagnostic information can be found at www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/h7n9-healthprofessionals.htm. As the issue continues to emerge more information will be available.
APHL continues to provide excellent educational opportunities via the Internet. The training available and registration information can be found at:
www.aphl.org/training/teleconf/Pages/default.aspx. In May the topics include ethics, blood lead levels and how global warming may impact vector borne disease. Topics in June include:
--June 4, 2013: Determining Clinical Relevance of Fungal Isolates
--June 18, 2013: Direct Identification of Microbes in Positive Blood Cultures
--June 20, 2013: Transport Systems and CLSI Document M40: It's Not Just Swabs
--June 27, 2013: CLSI's Guide to Planning Laboratory Operations During A Disaster
Recently the Department of Health recently released a press release regarding tick-borne disease which can be found here: news.sd.gov/newsitem.aspx?id=4939. The Public Health Laboratory routinely tests for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, tularemia and Lyme disease. Information regarding specimen collection can be found in our laboratory services manual, doh.sd.gov/Lab/Documents/MANUAL.pdf.
May 5 – 11 is Drinking Water Week. Drinking Water Week provides an opportunity for the public to recognize the essential role drinking water plays in our daily lives, with special attention on the ways in which all water consumers can get to know their H2O. In South Dakota we have many dedicated professionals whose life work is providing safe tap water to all of us. Drinking Water Week is sponsored by the American Water Works Association, a professional organization whose sole purpose it to promote research and educational opportunities to the water community. The Public Health Laboratory has close ties to the drinking water community in South Dakota, whether through the local water operator or a rural water association. We support safe drinking water by providing testing for inorganic, organic, radiochemical and microbiological contaminants.
As cool as it has been it is hard to believe that swimming pool season is just around the corner. Pool operators are reminded to contact us for sample collection bottles. You may call us at 605-773-3183 or use our electronic ordering form at doh.sd.gov/Lab/publicwa.aspx.
The number of wastewater samples being submitted has increased in past weeks. If you have permission to discharge and are collecting samples over a period of days, please remember not to collect a sample that must be “read out” over a weekend. Our wastewater collection calendar can be found at doh.sd.gov/Lab/Documents/CollectionCalendar.pdf.
Two laboratory staff celebrated work anniversaries this past month. Environmental Section Supervisor Stacy Ellwanger has been with us for 31 years. Stacy worked in various environmental laboratories prior to becoming supervisor. Senior Microbiologist Laurie Gregg has been with us for 22 years. Laurie is our go to person for bacteriology and mycology. Thanks to both of them for their years of service and commitment to public health laboratory science.