JACKSON, Miss. – This week, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) is recognizing its valuable public health laboratory staff members during National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week.
The annual observance recognizes the contributions of the scientific and technical personnel whose work in clinical laboratories helps the public enjoy the best health care possible. From 2009 H1N1 influenza to anthrax and testing water for contamination, the Mississippi Public Health Laboratory staff provide results that assist health authorities to analyze the extent of the threat, answer questions or take appropriate action during public health events.
“Our laboratory staff make a difference in the health of Mississippians with each test result,” said Dr. Daphne Ware, Director of the Mississippi Public Health Laboratory. “Every day, health authorities rely on our laboratory professionals to analyze specimens in order to provide answers regarding the health of a single patient or a particular environmental location. Health authorities then use our test results to protect our entire state from disease and environmental contamination.”
Construction of the new $25 million Dr. F.E. “Ed” Thompson, Jr. State Public Health Laboratory is slated for completion in 2011. At 80,000 square feet, the new facility will be twice the size of the existing lab and will house state-of-the-art lab equipment.
The Mississippi Public Health Laboratory currently has a 90-member staff that performs approximately 125 different tests on over 600,000 specimens each year on a variety of sample types, from blood and body fluids collected from patients, to drinking water and food. The lab provides results that assure the health of newborns and mothers, and confirms cases and sometimes outbreaks of STDs, influenza, tuberculosis, Lyme disease, West Nile virus, rotavirus and rabies, to name a few. The facility is a first responder for terrorism events by being a Level 2 chemical terrorist response laboratory and the state’s only Laboratory Response Network (LRN) reference laboratory for biological threats. The lab also tests all of the state’s drinking water, raw milk, and dairy products for bacteriological and chemical agents.
For more information on public health laboratory services, visit the MSDH website at www.HealthyMS.com or call us at 1-866-HLTHY4U (1-866-458-4948).