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Current Suspected Overdose Deaths in Delaware for 2017: 227
The Delaware Public Health Laboratory provides testing to assist in identification of foodborne illness outbreaks. Foods are considered to be any raw, cooked or processed edible substance, including ice, beverages or ingredients, used or intended for use in whole or in part for human consumption.
The laboratory functions in support of the state epidemiologist and Office of Food Protection in charge of investigating tainted foods or suspected food-borne outbreaks on a referral basis only. For effective laboratory analysis, it is necessary to know the symptoms and adverse reactions attributed to consuming the suspect food as determined by the epidemiologist or environmental health specialist in order to guide the laboratory analysis. Target organism(s) must be specified on the Request for Environmental Preparedness Testing form [ Text only version ] and the Chain of Custody form must be completed at the time of delivery to the lab. (This six page packet includes the Request for Environmental Preparedness Testing, the Chain of Custody for Environmental Preparedness Samples and the Chain of Custody for Multiple Environmental Preparedness Samples forms.)
Standard procedures for processing food are more complicated than handling routine specimens. Foods cannot be screened for numerous pathogens due to the nature of the testing. Target organisms must be identified so that the food can be enriched specifically for that organism. Special medias are required for fastidious organisms, usually found in mixed flora. Communication with the laboratory prior to delivery of the specimen(s) is a MUST.
Currently there are no successfully validated methods for detection of Norovirus in foods. If Norovirus infection is suspected, stool samples can be tested for this pathogen from suspected food handlers or those persons suspected of being infected. Stools should be collected in labelled sterile leak proof containers and submitted to the laboratory as soon as possible with completed Test Requisition Form. Requests for Norovirus testing must be approved and coordinated through the Bureau of Epidemiology (EPI)
At present this laboratory is NOT capable of analyzing food, stool or gastric specimens for the presence of bacterial or other toxins (e.g. C. botulinum). These services are available from FDA or CDC laboratories with pre-approval. Contact State Epidemiology personnel to determine need for antitoxin or if further testing is warranted. CDC Hotline can be contacted directly at (404) 639-3311.
Foods are blended and inoculated onto the appropriate selective media, incubated and examined by lab personnel. Subcultures are performed if indicated. Organisms are confirmed with biochemicaltests.
Serotyping is performed to speciate organisms for epidemiological purposes.
Reports are sent to the epidemiologist and sanitarian handling the investigation.
Turn around times vary according to the organism being sought, and range from 3 - 7 days.
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