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Clinical Microbiology

IBL’s Clinical Microbiology Section is comprised of four laboratories: Reference Bacteriology, Molecular Epidemiology, Mycobacteriology and Virology-Serology.

The Reference Bacteriology Laboratory serves as a center of expertise for the characterization of biological agents in human disease in the disciplines of bacteriology, intestinal parasitology, and emerging antimicrobial resistance. The laboratory uses both conventional and rapid innovative methods to identify organisms. IBL’s bacteriological service is also used for local and national surveillance.

Molecular Epidemiology focuses on the contribution of factors identified at the molecular level that play into the etiology, distribution, and prevention of diseases across a population. This laboratory participates as a key player in national database systems that collect, monitor, and analyzes molecular epidemiological data and serves as Idaho’s primary reference lab for gene sequence-based identification.

IBL's Mycobacteriology Laboratory performs specimen processing and mycobacterial recovery using a combination of traditional culture and a rapid broth culture detection system. Mycobacterium identification techniques include DNA probes, fluorescent microscopy, and 16S sequence identification. IBL also has the capability for the direct detection of TB using molecular methods.

The Virology-Serology Laboratories perform diagnostic and confirmatory testing for diseases of public health concern, including sexually transmitted, vaccine-preventable, and emerging diseases. The laboratories also serve as Idaho’s primary reference laboratory to test for rare or unusual disease agents such as hantavirus, SARS, rabies, and norovirus. 

Submission Forms and Information

IBL maintains strict guidelines regarding receipt and processing of samples. Clinical microbiology samples are accepted only from physicians, health clinics, and district health departments.

Before submitting a sample, it is highly recommended that you consult the Bureau's Sampling and Submission Guide. There you will find a complete list of tests that are performed at IBL as well as information on sample collection, storage, handling procedures, and rejection criteria. Samples must be received in appropriate packaging.  

Samples must be accompanied by the proper submission form for the test requested. Links to sample submission forms can be found below. These forms may be printed and used for submission. If the form you need is not listed here or if you are unsure of the form you need, please call 208-334-2235. Applicable samples from Public Health Districts must also be accompanied by a completed Client Billing Form.

Packaging and Labeling Requirements

Samples must be received in the appropriate packaging. There are also Federal Guidelines related to the proper containment and transport of certain types of samples. Below are guidelines for packaging Category A and Category B specimens.

Contact Information

Clinical Section Manager:
     Vonnita Barton

Phone:
     (208) 334-2235 x 230

Fax:
    (208) 334-4067

E-mail:
    bartonv@dhw.idaho.gov

Emergency Activation Through StateComm
1-800-632-8000