From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Public Health Laboratories operate as a first
line of defense to protect the public against diseases and other
health hazards. Working in collaboration with other arms of the
health system, public health laboratories provide diagnostic
testing, disease surveillance, applied research, laboratory
training and other essential services to the communities they
serve. Public health laboratory scientists are highly educated
specialists with knowledge of one or more scientific disciplines,
advanced skills in laboratory practice and the ability to apply
this expertise to the solution of complex problems affecting human
Every US state and territory, as well as the District of Columbia, has a central public
health laboratory that performs testing and other laboratory
services on behalf of the entire jurisdiction. In addition, most
states have local public health laboratories, ranging in size from
large metropolitan laboratories with
hundreds of scientists to small rural laboratories with one or two
staff, that support local public health activities like sexually transmitted
disease control and lead
State and large local public health laboratories frequently
perform tests that are unavailable elsewhere. At the state level,
public health laboratories help formulate public policies, develop new methods to
detect and combat infectious disease, regulate private
medical laboratories and perform other essential services to
protect residents’ health and well-being.
Core Functions of
Public Health Laboratories
- Disease Prevention, Control and Surveillance
- Integrated Data Management
- Reference and Specialized Testing
- Environmental Health and Protection
- Food Safety
- Laboratory Improvement and Regulation
- Policy Development
- Emergency Response
- Public Health Related Research
- Training and Education
- Partnerships and Communication
Public Health Laboratory
- Screen 97% of babies born in the United States for metabolic
and genetic disorders.
- Monitor communities for pathogens that spread in food or
through contact with people or animals.
- Perform almost all testing to detect and monitor newly emerging
infectious diseases like West Nile virus, SARS and Avian Influenza.
- Test drinking and some recreational water for bacteria,
parasites, pesticides and other harmful substances.
- Identify suspect agents, as in 2001 when public health
laboratories tested over 1,200 specimens a day during the 2001
anthrax attacks, ultimately conducting over one million
In 2007, Haim Hacham et al. published a paper
addressing the need for and the process of international
standardised accreditation for laboratory proficiency in Israel.
Their practice is an invaluable experience for all in the sector
With the similar efforts, both the Japan Accreditation Board for
Conformity Assessment (JAB) and the European Communities
Confederation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EC4)
have validated and convened ISO 15189, respectively 
However, Spitzenberger and Edelhäuser have expressed their concerns
in that ISO accreditation may include obstacles rising from new
emerging medical devices and the new approach of assessment,
indicating the time dependence of the standards .
- ^ Hacham, Haim et al. (2007).
"Unification of the quality assurance systems of public health
laboratories conformed to ISO 17025, ISO 15189, and ISO 9000: a
major organizational change". Accreditation and Quality
Assurance: Journal for Quality, Comparability and Reliability in
Chemical Measurement (Elsevier) 12 (8): 409–413. doi:10.1007/s00769-007-0262-9.
- ^ Aoyagi T, Kawai T (May 2006). "[Validation
of the ISO 15189 trial assessment results of clinical
laboratories--effects of accreditation and interpretation of ISO
15189]" (in Japanese). Rinsho Byori 54
(5): 486–93. PMID 16789419.
- ^ Huisman W, Horvath AR, Burnett D, et
al. (2007). "Accreditation of medical
laboratories in the European Union". Clin. Chem. Lab.
Med. 45 (2): 268–75. doi:10.1515/CCLM.2007.037. PMID 17311523. http://pt.wkhealth.com/pt/re/cclm/abstract.00115728-200745020-00029.htm;jsessionid=Hfhpgx1565JBs7Lhlc12PLyGtpdLRYGNCwtQLRsprvzw6dySs8Rs!592949099!181195629!8091!-1.
- ^ Spitzenberger F, Edelhäuser R (2006).
"Accreditation of Medical Laboratories in Europe: Statutory
Framework, Current Situation and Perspectives". Transfusion
Medicine and Hemotherapy (S. Karger AG) 33
(5): 384–92. doi:10.1159/000094738.