Promoting and protecting the health and safety of all Idahoans

Clinical Testing

IBL’s clinical testing is performed primarily by the Clinical and Microbiology sections.  

The Clinical section includes both virology-serology and mycobacteriology laboratories. 

  • Virology-serology laboratories provide screening, 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 in response to prevent the emergence and spread of communicable or unusual disease agents such as influenza, hantavirus, rabies, and norovirus. 
  • 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 Microbiology section includes the reference bacteriology and molecular epidemiology laboratories. The work of both laboratories contributes to local, state and national surveillance of enteric disease. 

  • The reference bacteriology laboratory uses both conventional and innovative rapid methods to characterize and identify organisms in support of local health practitioners and national programs. 
  • Molecular epidemiology focuses on the unique molecular characteristics of an organism to better understand its contribution to the etiology, distribution, and prevention of disease across a population. This laboratory is a key player in national disease surveillance systems that collect, monitor, and analyze molecular epidemiological data and serves as Idaho’s primary reference lab for gene sequence-based identification.

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.

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 resources for packaging Category A and Category B specimens.