The Microbiology Reference Group at DCLS provides laboratory testing services focused on the detection and identification of bacterial and fungal pathogens that cause disease in humans, which could be present in the food we eat or in the environment. This group also has the responsibility for providing laboratory testing for high-consequence pathogens or pathogens that may be used as biological agents by terrorists or persons that want to threaten or cause harm to the citizens of the Commonwealth. Human and environmental samples are tested routinely as part of investigations involving emerging infectious disease, gastrointestinal illnesses outbreaks and in support of autopsy and suspicious death investigations. The laboratory testing supports many local, state and federal agencies, as well as private and public laboratories throughout Virginia.
Examples of common pathogens or diseases caused by harmful agents identified by this group of highly trained scientists include:
- Pertussis (or Whooping Cough)
- Pathogenic E.coli (E.coli O157)