Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus(MERS)
On May 20, the Republic of Korea reported its first laboratory confirmed case of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). As of June 12, 125 cases with 11 deaths had been confirmed by the World Health Organization, all linked to health care facilities with confirmed MERS cases.
Lab confirms Shigellosis in 84 cases out of 150
The State Hygienic Laboratory is working with the Iowa Department of Public Health and Linn County Public Health to determine the source of a large Shigellosis cluster in Linn County. Shigellosis is a gastrointestinal disease that is caused by Shigella bacteria and can be spread either person to person or by food. The role of the laboratory is to perform identification, analysis and surveillance of the cases in Iowa. As of June 19, 150 cases of Shigella were identified in Linn County. The Hygienic Laboratory has confirmed 84 cases since the outbreak began in May.
National laboratory association elects Atchison
The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) announced on June 4 that Hygienic Laboratory Director Christopher Atchison was elected as secretary-treasurer of APHL’s board of directors.
Gastrointestinal Pathogens Panel
Many detectable gastrointestinal pathogens associated with infectious diarrhea are considered reportable communicable diseases by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH).
Changes to HIV testing options
The State Hygienic Laboratory plans to discontinue HIV-1 Oral Fluid testing effective July 1, 2015. This includes: HIV-1 Antibody Oral Fluid and HIV -1 Oral Fluid by Western Blot (reflex test for positive HIV-1 Antibody Oral Fluid test). This change is based on recent recommendations made by the Association of Public Health Laboratories and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
H5N2 identified in Iowa poultry flocks
A high pathogenic strain of avian influenza (H5N2) has been identified in poultry flocks primarily in northwest Iowa. The Iowa Department of Public Health, in collaboration with local public health partners, is following up with workers who had direct contact with infected birds to confirm that they stay well.
Updates to testing fees effective July 2015
A three percent (3%) increase in clinical and environmental testing fees will go into effect July 1. This does not apply to maternal or newborn screening test fees, or to select contract agreements. New prices will be posted to the Clinical Test Menu prior to the price change on July 1.