The Public Health Laboratory (PHL) performs clinical and environmental testing on over 400,000 specimens annually. In collaboration with State, Federal and private research facilities, PHL is able to provide laboratory diagnosis of causative agents of disease and environmental hazards.
Virology and Immunology
This area of the PHL performs diagnostic serological and viral identification testing of patient specimens, as well as environmental testing for West Nile Virus in mosquitoes and rabies in animals that are submitted from NYC DOHMH-approved facilities.
- Serologic assay for markers for diagnostic purposes includes HIV-1 and HIV-2, hepatitis A, B and C, measles, rubella, mumps, varicella-zoster, herpes simplex and encephalitis-related West Nile virus.
- Supplemental serological testing is performed for HIV, HBV and HCV.
- Available on a limited basis is lymphocytes enumeration relative to the determination of the immune status of HIV-infected patients.
Diagnostic virus identification assays include virus isolation techniques, direct fluorescent antibody and molecular assays for clinical specimens for respiratory and enteroviruses.
PCR assays are also used to identify acute HIV infections,as well as the prognostic determination of HIV-1 viral load.
Environmental testing includes rabies and mosquito vector WNV. This area of the PHL is CDC-approved as a Laboratory Response Network (LRN) virus reference laboratory.
Environmental Sciences and Toxicology
This division performs comprehensive analysis of environmental samples in the areas of Chemistry, Toxicology, and Microbiology. It provides:
- 24-hour coverage for botulism testing.
- analysis of potable and beach water, food, asbestos and testing to detect lead in paint chips.
An Emergency Toxicology Unit provides STAT testing for histamine, cholinesterase, cyanide, and heavy metal poisoning.
The Microbiology Unit provides microbiological testing of food, water, and dairy products.
The Lead Unit provides clinical lead analysis in blood and other body fluids for Lead Poisoning Prevention, NYPD, FDNY among other agencies.
The efforts of the following specialized laboratory units within the Division of Microbiology, perform state-of-the-art microbiological analysis to detect, identify, speciate, serotype and provide antibiotic susceptibility testing of bacterial pathogens and emerging/re-emerging pathogens.
- General and Enteric Microbiology Laboratory: Isolates are submitted by referring laboratories for identification and confirmation of a variety of microorganisms.
Clinical samples are submitted from autopsy specimens received from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. A high volume of clinical specimens are also received from Department of Health and Mental Hygiene STD Clinics for the laboratory diagnosis of Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
The General and Enteric Microbiology Laboratory provides numerous tests that are not generally available in private clinical laboratories and hospital based laboratories. For example:
- culture and fluorescent antibody tests are performed to detect the etiologic agents of whooping cough and Legionella.
- Investigations related to Neisseria meningitidis are also performed.
- This reference laboratory also performs antimicrobial susceptibility testing to confirm emerging resistance such as VISA.
Within general microbiology, the enteric section provides diagnostic testing, confirmatory identification and epidemiologic surveillance of enteric bacterial pathogens. In coordination with the Bureau of Communicable Diseases and the Bureau of Environmental Investigation, it performs clinical laboratory investigations of isolates from food-poisoning and related outbreaks in NYC.
- Parasitology Laboratory: This laboratory provides clinical testing services and serves as the Parasitology Reference Laboratory for New York City.
- Mycobacteriology Laboratory: This laboratory conducts testing related to the rapid and conventional identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and other mycobacterial pathogens as well as antibiotic susceptibility testing.
- Molecular Typing Laboratory:: This laboratory utilizes molecular techniques (i.e. Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis) to determine the relatedness of bacterial strains of suspected outbreaks.
- Molecular STD Laboratory: This laboratory performs nucleic acid amplification testing for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
- Bio-Threat Response Laboratory: This laboratory performs rapid identification of bioterrorism agents from environmental and clinical sources.
Office of Safety and Health
This unit is responsible for developing safety policies, providing technical assistance and enforcing regulatory standards. Staff is empowered with the skills and tools necessary to ensure a safe work environment. Our Unit is committed to the safety and well-being of its employees and visitors at the Public Health Laboratory.
Last Updated July 19, 2013