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Lab Sections

Enteric and Parasitology Laboratory

The Enteric and Parasitology Laboratory performs reference laboratory services to aid in the identification of enteric organisms submitted by laboratories throughout the state. This laboratory offers services to isolate, identify, and/or confirm Salmonella sp., Shigella sp., Campylobacter sp., and E. coli O157:H7, among others, from clinical specimens. Complete serotyping of Salmonella sp. and Shigella sp. is provided.  Approved clients may also receive complete examination of paired formalin and polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) preserved stool specimens for intestinal parasites.  Blood preparations for parasites are sent to the CDC for examination.

Molecular Testing Development Laboratory

The Molecular Test Development Laboratory develops and implements methods for detection and subtyping of various gastrointestinal and respiratory pathogens. In addition, laboratory conducts specialized testing for selected pathogenic viruses and bacteria which are of public health interest. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification and detection of nucleic acids is used to identify E. coli 0157:H7 and Shigella sp in clinical specimens and contaminated food samples. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) is performed to subtype isolates of foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella sp., E. coli 0157:H7, Shigella sp. and Listeria monocytogenes. Through PFGE, a unique bacterial DNA fingerprint is obtained, analyzed, and submitted to the PulseNet National Database at the Centers for Disease Control to track for local and national outbreak patterns. Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are detected from urine and genital specimens using a nucleic acid probe amplification assay.

Mycology Laboratory

The Mycology Laboratory offers identification services pertaining to all approved clinical, reference, and environmental isolates. Since most clinical and environmental samples are considered unique, approval prior to submission is necessary. Approval may be obtained through the laboratory supervisor at (317) 921-5500.

Mycobacteriology laboratory

State law requires laboratories to submit isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis to the Mycobacteriology laboratory for confirmation and susceptibility testing. Drug susceptibility testing is routinely performed on all new cases of M. tuberculosis. Drug susceptibility testing will be repeated if the patient is still culture positive for M. tuberculosis after 3 months of therapy.  Susceptibility testing for other Mycobacterial species is not performed. The laboratory also offers direct microscopic examination and culture of clinical specimens for primary identification of Mycobacterium species in cases referred by local health departments or the TB control program, (317) 233-7434.

Reference Bacteriology Laboratory

The Reference Bacteriology Laboratory offers identification of selected bacterial pathogens from human sources which are of public health importance. Only pure viable cultures of clinically significant bacterial isolates are accepted. These include those of public health interest as well as those that Indiana State law requires to be submitted: Neisseria meningitides and Haemophilus influenzae from invasive disease, shiga-toxin producing E. coli, vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella sp. Isolates of Bordetella parapertussis, Bordetella pertussis, Legionella sp. and Corynebacterium diphtheriae from clinical specimens are accepted for confirmation. Grouping/typing is provided when appropriate. This laboratory is not a general identification service for laboratories that provide human clinical specimen testing. Obtain approval to submit isolates or specimens by calling IDOH Surveillance and Investigation at (317) 233-7125.

Rabies Laboratory

The Rabies Laboratory performs rabies testing Monday through Friday on a daily basis, excluding holidays. A complete description of how to submit specimens for rabies testing can be found on the back of the Rabies submission form or on the IDOH website. The Rabies Submission Guidelines poster is available as well. Results are usually available 24 hours after submission if the head/specimen is not frozen. Animal heads/specimens submitted on late Friday afternoon are held until Monday morning or next business day. For further consultation regarding human exposure, call the IDOH Surveillance and Investigation at (317) 233-7272.

Serology Laboratory

The Serology Laboratory offers serological analyses for infections of public health importance, including HIV, Hepatitis A, B, and C, and Syphilis. It also tests for antibodies to infections associated with vaccine-preventable diseases and vector-borne pathogens such as Measles (Rubeola), Mumps, Rubella, West Nile Virus, and Arbovirus (WEE, EEE, SLE, CE).

Virology Laboratory

The Virology Laboratory provides testing to detect and identify viruses pathogenic to humans which may be of public health importance. Some viruses are isolated in culture, e.g., respiratory viruses, herpes viruses causing skin lesions, enteroviruses, and mumps and measles viruses. Detection of nucleic acids in infected specimens is used to identify infections caused by mumps, influenza virus, and to subtype influenza isolates.  

The Virology Laboratory also accepts reference viral isolates for confirmation and subtyping of viruses including influenza, enteroviruses, and adenoviruses. West Nile Virus is detected from pools of mosquitoes for surveillance data.