South Texas Laboratory is a branch of the Department of State Health Services Laboratory Services Section and is located in Harlingen, Texas. The Laboratory is dedicated to providing high-quality, accurate test results to residents of the Rio Grande Valley as a Public Health Laboratory, serving 10 Texas regions with more than 70 clinics and supporting local hospitals and local health departments. The South Texas Laboratory operates as a full service laboratory, encompassing General Clinical laboratory testing, Bacteriology/Mycobacteriology, Public Health Serology, Consumer Microbiology, Influenza Surveillance Testing, and Emergency Preparedness.
The Clinical Laboratory provides services such as Clinical Chemistry, Hematology, Urinalysis, General Bacteriology, and Parasitology. The Clinical Laboratory serves as support for medical educational programs through The University of Texas Brownsville Medical Laboratory Technology Program and The University of Texas-Pan American Medical Technology Program, as well as the main function of patient care in the DSHS organization for South Texas.
The Mycobacteriology Section provides tuberculosis (TB) testing services and is well known for expertise in TB testing with immediate access to Medical Authorities on new cases and their contacts. The Mycobacteriology Laboratory also serves as the Bi-National TB Laboratory and has been instrumental in training Mexico border state laboratories TB technologists to assist in the elimination of tuberculosis through the DSHS Bi-National Program. South Texas Laboratory serves as the international training center of excellence for TB testing by assisting in the control of tuberculosis on the Mexico-US Border. The TB Section supports testing submitted by The University of Texas Health Science Center-San Antonio (UTHSCSA) on various special studies with the Tuberculosis Trial Consortium (TBTC)/CDC. The Mycobacteriology Laboratory participates with The University of Texas Brownsville-School of Public Health on grant projects, which will continue involvement at a higher testing volume and with a more focused training curriculum.
The Public Health Serology Section is the Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Laboratory. Services, which include Syphilis Serology, are provided for the Hidalgo County Health Department, RGSC Out-Patients, Regional Clinics, and the McAllen Medical Center.
Consumer Microbiology provides water testing for Public Water Systems in Bexar, Cameron, Harris, Hidalgo, Kenedy, Kleberg, Starr, Willacy, and Zapata counties for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). The Water Laboratory also tests vended and bottled water samples for the Manufactured Foods Division and provides water testing for individual wells and construction samples. The South Texas Laboratory is accredited by the NELAC Institute (TNI) for the microbiological examination of drinking water.
The Emergency Preparedness Section responds to Public Health emergencies and health threats, or biological agents for bioterrorism testing, which include Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, Francisella tularensis, Burkholderia spp., Brucella spp., Ricin, and pandemic influenza, for the Rio Grande Valley. The Emergency Preparedness Section also performs Influenza Surveillance Testing. The South Texas Laboratory Emergency Preparedness Section serves eight counties, local hospitals, and reference laboratories, and is a member of the Laboratory Response Network.
South Texas Laboratory’s professional staff is made up of competent Medical Technologists, Medical Laboratory Technicians, Microbiologists, and Laboratory Technicians. A highly trained dedicated support staff assists in all areas and provides client support services. Laboratory activities are directed by a licensed Laboratory Director and certified by a board approved Health and Human Services. The Administrative Laboratory Director is a registered Medical Technologist. General Supervisors are all registered Medical Technologists and have extensive laboratory experience.
South Texas Laboratory is accredited by the Commission Inspection and Accreditation of Laboratories of the College of American Pathologists (#21448-01) and is accredited by the Joint Commission Accreditation of Hospital Organizations and approved to provide clinical services under the Medicare Program (CLIA #45D0503753).
DSHS/South Texas Laboratory
1301 S. Rangerville Road
Harlingen, TX 78552
Aurora Martinez, M.T. (ASCP), B.S.
Laboratory Branch Manager
DSHS - MC1917
PO Box 149347
Austin, TX 78714-9347