Laboratory Departments

The Southern Nevada Public Health Laboratory (SNPHL) is comprised of four departments, each of which reports to the Laboratory Manager, who in turn reports to the Laboratory Director. The Laboratory Director reports to the Health District’s Community Health Division Director. The departments that comprise SNPHL are the Immunology/Serology Department, Microbiology Department, Molecular Department and the COVID Department.

Immunology/Serology Department

The Immunology/Serology section of SNPHL performs a full range of testing for a wide variety of infectious diseases and works with the Health District’s Clinical Services Division, the Office of Disease Surveillance (ODS) and other community partners. By analyzing clinical samples, this department assists in activities pertaining to Southern Nevada’s surveillance, disease management and delivery of clinical testing services. The following services are offered routinely:

  • Syphilis testing performed following the reverse CDC algorithm with RPR testing and TP-PA confirmation
  • Hepatitis testing, including Hepatitis A, B and C
  • QuantiFERON testing for latent TB
  • HIV antigen/antibody, confirmation and viral load
  • NAAT testing for Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhea, SARS-CoV-2
  • SARS-CoV-2 Antibody

Microbiology Department

The Microbiology department of SNPHL uses the latest methods to isolate, identify and characterize pathogens. The department coordinates with ODS, the Health District’s Environmental Health Division, government agencies, and hospital sentinel laboratories. It analyzes clinical, environmental samples and participates in the core activities of Southern Nevada surveillance, quality assessment, quality assurance and safety. Some of the services offered in Microbiology department are:

  • Culture of stools for fecal pathogens and confirmation and typing of Shiga Toxin-producing coli, Salmonella enterica, and Shigella species from various sources
  • Culture of clinical specimens for uncommon pathogens
  • Foodborne outbreak surveillance from clinical bacterial pathogens under PulseNet
  • Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 lineages
  • Identification of difficult to identify clinical isolates by 16S Ribosomal rDNA sequencing
  • Confirmation of vancomycin resistant or intermediate Staphylococcus aureus (VRSA/VISA)

Molecular Department

The Molecular Department has a range of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for a variety of infectious diseases. These tests use real-time PCR assay that target the DNA or RNA of a variety of bacteria such as Brucella and viruses such as influenza. Some of the services offered in the Molecular Department include:

  • Surveillance for respiratory pathogens
  • Gastrointestinal pathogens identification
  • Surveillance of vaccine preventable diseases
  • Surveillance of vector-borne diseases
  • Perform testing for suspected bioterrorism incidents

COVID Department

The COVID Department of SNPHL works with ODS to perform SARS-CoV-2 testing for Southern Nevada residents and provides fast and accurate reports to the Office of Epidemiology for quick response to the pandemic. In this laboratory, several state-of-art and high throughput instruments including liquid handlers, nucleic acid extractors, and PCR instruments have been used to increase the testing capacity and reduce hands-on time. Our customers and providers can access their test reports through the SNPHL web portal after reviewing and releasing the result by laboratory staff. The major services offered in the COVID department include:

  • Perform COVID-19 PCR testing
  • Perform COVID-19 and influenza multiplex testing
  • Participate CDC COVID-19 surveillance program
  • Support outreach activities for COVID-19 testing

Updated on:  April 22, 2022

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