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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Carl Kanefsky, Communications Director
(302) 540-4979, Pager

Date: April 14, 2010


Do you know what your public health laboratory does? In recognition of National Medical Laboratory Week, April 18-24, the Division of Public Health (DPH) invites you to an Open House on Wednesday, April 21 from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at the Public Health Laboratory, 30 Sunnyside Road in Smyrna. The event, which includes tours of the facility, showcases the lab's work and capabilities.

Learn what anthrax looks like, how your drinking water is tested, how bacteria is "fingerprinted" and much more.

The lab provides critical data used by health programs and the medical community to implement prevention and control measures. For example, during the outbreak of the novel H1N1 virus the laboratory conducted confirmatory tests of the virus which would advise health providers on how to treat those testing positive as well as alerting health officials as to the spread and location of the virus, which would direct their response to the disease. In 2009, the lab processed nearly 4,000 influenza tests alone.

"The public health lab provides information which helps in analyzing the threat of disease outbreaks, aiding us in handling public health concerns and taking appropriate action," said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of DPH. Dr. Rattay will attend the Open House and will speak to attendees at 11:30 a.m.

Guided tours of the facility will be from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Public health programs, other state agencies, and health care organizations will provide displays, information and giveaways.

The Open House promotes careers in the sciences for students and is free and open to the public. Free water test kits will be available for the first 100 attendees (one per household). For more information contact Liz Moore at 302-223-1520.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.