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Clinical Microbiology and Molecular Virology


The Delaware Public Health Laboratory Clinical Microbiology section tests clinical samples for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea identification from male urine, urethral, oral and rectal sources. Female sources include urine, vaginal, cervical, oral and rectal. Testing for Trichomonas performed on male urine samples, female urine and cervical sources.

The section tests for and performs typing of specific bacteria by Pulse Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) for epidemiologic investigation. PFGE utilizes the organisms' DNA as a "fingerprint" to reference other organisms of the same species on a national database for outbreak tracking. This assists tracking larger outbreaks that may be encompassing multi-state jurisdictions. Other testing performed includes antimicrobial susceptibility of antibiotics and serotyping of Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC), Salmonella, Shigella, Vibrio cholerae, Haemophilus influenzae type B, and Neisseria meningitidis. Identification of these common vaccine preventable diseases can help stifle potential reemerging epidemics.

Mycobacteriology testing performed in the lab is for the recovery, identification and antibiotic susceptibility testing of acid-fast bacilli (AFB), most common of which is Mycobacteria tuberculosis. Staff performs fluorescent microscopy on direct smear of samples to determine presence of AFB for rapid results to clinicians. From there, staff utilizes culture and molecular techniques to identify mycobacteria that cause infection. Staff also performs quantiferon (QFT) testing as a method to determine exposure of tuberculosis (TB) to individuals from those who are experiencing TB infection.

Molecular Virology

The Delaware Public Health Laboratory Molecular Virology section performs testing for viruses using living host systems to isolate viruses and serological procedures to identify viral infections. Sample sources include autopsy, biopsy, blood, CSF,cervix, eye, skin, lesion, throat, urine, stool or other body fluids. The Molecular Virology section also performs syphilis testing by RPR, VDRL and TPPA. Testing includes the following: HIV-1, herpes, West Nile, other arboviruses, rabies and influenza.