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Epidemiological Support Group

The Epidemiologic Support Group combines classical microbiology with current state-of-the-art molecular techniques to address infectious disease in an exciting and effective way. It provides testing services for disease surveillance activities and epidemiological investigations and testing services for identification of reference isolates submitted by other laboratories in Virginia. Areas of expertise include viral agents, parasites and testing for enteric pathogens and toxins, molecular characterization using DNA fingerprinting technologies, rapid response testing for biological agents and toxins associated with terrorism or emerging infection disease outbreaks, and regulator testing for antibiotic concentrations in animal feeds. Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, Escherichia coli 0157:H7, Yersinia, Vibrio, Norovirus, Rotavirus, Cryptosporidium, Plasmodium, Giardia, Blastocystis, West Nile virus, Bordetella, SARS, Influenza, and Botulium toxin are some examples of agents that can be detected and/or isolated by this group. Real time information exchange is critical for effective outbreak investigations and this Group serves as a Regional PulseNet site. Data regarding the DNA fingerprints of microorganisms associated with possible foodborne disease outbreaks are entered into a national database and possible links to outbreaks within the state, region or nationally can be determined in a manner of minutes. This group also provides molecular test support to other groups (Virology and Reference Microbiology) to rapidly detect and identify biological agents occurring naturally or associated with terrorism.

Links:

CDC - PulseNet
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Emerging Infectious Diseases

PCR Workstation Analysis of possible food-borne pathogens

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