Laboratory Services



Attention: Testing services may be reduced or delayed 


For over 90 years the Lab has worked tirelessly to keep Texans safe and healthy. The Department of State Health Services Lab is one of the largest public health laboratories in the U.S. Annually, we test more than 1 million samples for infectious and food-borne diseases, biological and chemical compounds, and biological agents. And every year more than 400,000 Texas babies are screened twice for 54 metabolic and genetic disorders. The lab also helps keep our drinking water safe by testing water from the over 6800 public water systems.


ATTENTION NEWBORN SCREENING SUBMITTERS

DSHS BEGAN SMA TESTING JUNE 1, 2021

 

The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) added screening for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) to the Texas Newborn Screening Panel effective June 1, 2021.

What is SMA?

Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is an inherited condition that affects the cells in the spinal cord that signal the muscles to work.  Over time, the muscles get weaker and activities such as crawling, walking, sitting up, and controlling head movements become more difficult. Severe cases of SMA affect the muscles used for breathing and swallowing and can lead to early death.

Will samples received before June 1, 2021 be tested for SMA?

No, samples will not be screened retrospectively. 

Will there be a fee increase?

Yes, an increase is expected and planned for January 2022. DSHS will notify stakeholders of the amount at least 90 days prior to the change.

Will more blood be needed to complete this test?

No additional blood is needed. Continue to collect 5 completely saturated or filled blood spots.

How common is SMA?

About 1 in 8,000 to 1 in 10,000 babies are affected by SMA.

Will the newborn screen detect all babies with SMA?

The test will identify SMA that is caused by a homozygous deletion of exon 7 in the SMN1 gene.  This accounts for about 95% of all SMA cases. 

Is there any treatment for SMA?

Although there is currently no cure for SMA, there are multiple FDA approved treatments available and effective if diagnosed early. 

What conditions are included on Texas Newborn Screening Panel?

The Texas panel includes 54 laboratory and two point-of-care screens.  A list of the conditions on the Texas Newborn Screening Panel can be found here (pdf).

Currently, the Texas Newborn Screening Laboratory screens for 30 core conditions and reports an additional 24 secondary conditions.  With the addition of SMA, Texas will screen for 31 core conditions. 

Where can I find more information on SMA?

Watch for continued updates, including list serve announcements, throughout the implementation process.  Find more information on SMA at Baby’s First Test and CureSMA.  

For questions or comments:

1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or 512-776-7333

Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted June 01, 2021


ATTENTION  BACTERIOLOGICAL WATER CUSTOMERS

Public Water Systems and Private

Effective June 1, 2021

Starting on June 1, 2021, the Texas Department of State Health Services Laboratory will return to their normal operating hours for accepting bacteriological water samples. 

Water samples accepted Monday – Thursday 8am – 4pm (Except Federal Holidays).

For questions or comments: Call toll free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7598 or for local calls 512-776-7598

Posted May 26, 2021 


IMPORTANT NOTICE

Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)

Scheduled Go Live Date

 


The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) will be adding screening for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) to the Texas Newborn Screening Panel June 1, 2021.


What is SMA?

Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is an inherited condition that affects the cells in the spinal cord that signal the muscles to work.  Over time, the muscles get weaker and activities such as crawling, walking, sitting up, and controlling head movements become more difficult. Severe cases of SMA affect the muscles used for breathing and swallowing and can lead to early death.

When will SMA be added to the Texas NBS Panel?

This addition is anticipated to begin June 1, 2021.

Will there be a fee increase?

Yes, an increase is expected and planned for January 2022. DSHS will notify stakeholders of the amount at least 90 days prior to the change.

Will more blood be needed to complete this test?

No additional blood is needed. Continue to collect 5 completely saturated or filled blood spots.

How common is SMA?

About 1 in 8,000 to 1 in 10,000 babies are affected by SMA.

Will the newborn screen detect all babies with SMA?

The test will identify SMA that is caused by a homozygous deletion of exon 7 in the SMN1 gene.  This accounts for about 95% of all SMA cases.

Is there any treatment for SMA?

Although there is currently no cure for SMA, there are multiple FDA approved treatments available and effective if diagnosed early.

What conditions are included on Texas Newborn Screening Panel?

The Texas panel includes 54 laboratory and two point-of-care screens.  A list of the conditions on the Texas Newborn Screening Panel can be found here (pdf).

Currently, the Texas Newborn Screening Laboratory screens for 30 core conditions and reports an additional 24 secondary conditions.  With the addition of SMA, Texas will screen for 31 core conditions.

Where can I find more information on SMA?

Watch for continued updates, including email notices, throughout the implementation process.  Find more information on SMA at Baby’s First Test and CureSMA.  

 

For questions or comments:

1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or 512-776-7333

Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted May 26, 2021 


Texas Department of State Health Services Laboratory - Annual Customer Satisfaction Survey, Austin TX

Please complete the following survey. Your responses are very important as they help us improve our services.

The survey will take approximately 5 - 10 minutes to complete.  Please click here to begin the survey. 

Please complete the survey by April 15, 2021.

If you have questions, contact the DSHS Laboratory at 512-776-7578. 

Posted March 15, 2021 


NOTICE: EXPIRING BLOOD COLLECTION TUBES

Type of Tube: 500 µL Purple Top Capillary MAP Tube (K2EDTA)

Lot #: 9261785, 9261788
Expiration Date: 03/31/2021

Specimens collected in expired tubes will be rejected!

What to do next:

  • Review your stock, discard any expired tubes
  • To order new supplies, fax order to (512) 776-7672

    For questions call: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 6236.

    To see previous notices, please visit http://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/cc_notices.shtm

Posted March 2, 2021 


DSHS-SOUTH TEXAS LABORATORY EMERGENCY CLOSURE:

   

DSHS-SOUTH TEXAS LABORATORY WILL BE CLOSED DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER, UNEXPECTED POWER OUTAGES, AND BROKEN WATER LINES:

Wednesday, February 17-Friday, February 19, 2021    

THE LABORATORY IS EXPECTED TO RESUME NORMAL BUSINESS HOURS

ON Monday, February 22.                  

To sign up to receive e-mail updates for correspondence and bulletins, please go to:

http://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/STL/STLCorrespondenceBulletins.shtm

THANK YOU

Posted Feb 17, 2021


Notice: COVID-19 Next Generation Sequencing is available at the DSHS Austin Laboratory

The DSHS Austin Laboratory has been funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to perform Next Generation Sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 as part of the public health response to COVID-19 in Texas. The data we gather from sequencing can inform us about how the virus is spreading in our communities, where it originated, how it may be changing over time in different geographical locations, and whether these changes may affect diagnostic testing, public health response measures, or vaccine development.

The DSHS Laboratory is now accepting specimens from healthcare providers and COVID-19 testing laboratories statewide to increase its sequencing efforts as new genetic variants of SARS-CoV-2 have been reported within the State of Texas. DSHS is very interested in receiving specimens from patients who have been re-infected with COVID-19 and those suspected of having a genetic variant of concern.

For additional information and ongoing updates regarding the COVID-19 situation, please go to: https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/

General Information and Questions Email: coronavirus@dshs.texas.gov

DSHS COVID 19 Call Center:  2-1-1 Option 6

Hours: 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Monday – Friday 

Posted Jan 13, 2021


COVID-19 Serology Testing Available Starting August 01, 2020 at The DSHS Austin Laboratory

The DSHS Austin Laboratory now provides testing for total antibodies (IgM, IgA, and IgG) to SARS-CoV-2 (virus that causes COVID-19) in human blood utilizing the Bio-Rad Platelia SARS-CoV-2 Total Ab assay. This serology test can be used to detect whether there has been an adaptive immune response to COVID-19, indicating a recent or prior infection, but should not be used for diagnostic purposes.  Specimens will not be tested without prior Epidemiologist (Epi) approval.  Contact your Regional and/or Local Health Department (https://www.dshs.texas.gov/regions/2019-nCoV-Local-Health-Entities/) and obtain Epidemiologist (Epi) approval to test.

  • Find specimen collection and submission instructions here. (PDF, V.4, updated 12/30/20)

  • Required Forms: G-2A Specimen Submission Form

  • Acceptable specimen criteria:

    • Specimen Type
       
      • Serum in gel separator tube or transport tube 

      • Plasma collected in EDTA
       
    • Shipping requirements 
       
      • if DSHS receives within 4 days of collection ─ ship cold at +2-8°C

      • if DSHS receives > 4 days of collection ─ frozen/dry ice at -20°C or colder

For additional information and ongoing updates regarding the COVID-19 situation, please go to: https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/ 

Email: coronavirus@dshs.texas.gov

DSHS COVID‑19 Call Center:  2-1-1 Option 6 
Hours: 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Monday – Friday  

Posted August 18, 2020


Notice regarding COVID-19 testing at the DSHS Austin Laboratory

As of Monday, April 13, 2020, the Texas DSHS Austin Laboratory will begin utilizing the PerkinElmer New Coronavirus Nucleic Acid Detection Kit and chemagic extraction platform to expand capacity for COVID-19 testing.  The CDC 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel will continue to be available until current supply resources are exhausted.

  • Acceptable specimens include:

o   Nasopharyngeal (NP) or oropharyngeal (OP) swabs, combined NP/OP swabs, and nasal swabs in Viral Transport Media (VTM), Universal Transport Media (UTM), liquid Amies media, and sterile saline.

****Please continue to use the COVID-19 Specimen Collection and Submission Instructions for specimen collection, handling, and shipping guidance.****

ALL specimens for COVID-19 testing require preapproval.   Contact your Local Health Department or DSHS Public Health Region (https://www.dshs.texas.gov/regions/2019-nCoV-Local-Health-Entities/) to ensure patient meets Patient Under Investigation (PUI) criteria for testing and to obtain DSHS approval to test. Specimens MUST meet DSHS PUI criteria prior to shipping and WILL NOT be tested without prior approval.  Please DO NOT ship specimens prior to receiving this approval.

For additional information and ongoing updates regarding the COVID-19 situation, please go to:

https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/ 

Email: coronavirus@dshs.texas.gov

DSHS COVID‑19 Call Center:  2-1-1 Option 6 
Hours: 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Monday – Friday  

Posted April 13, 2020


Notice regarding testing and submission of specimens for COVID-19 testing to the DSHS Austin Laboratory


As of April 6, 2020, the Texas DSHS Laboratory has made the following changes regarding acceptable specimens for COVID-19 testing. 

1.  The DSHS Interim COVID-19 Case Report Form (found at htps://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/public-health.aspxis no longer required with sample submission. 

For further details, please see the COVID-19 Specimen Collection and Submission Instructions located on the DSHS Laboratory website

PUI ID is no longer required.  However, ALL specimens for COVID-19 testing require preapproval.   Contact your Local Health Department or DSHS Public Health Region (https://www.dshs.texas.gov/regions/2019-nCoV-Local-Health-Entities/) to ensure patient meets Patient Under Investigation (PUI) criteria for testing and to obtain DSHS approval to test. Specimens MUST meet DSHS PUI criteria prior to shipping and WILL NOT be tested without prior approval.  Please DO NOT ship specimens prior to receiving this approval.

For additional information and ongoing updates regarding the COVID-19 situation, please go to:

https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/ 

Email: coronavirus@dshs.texas.gov 

DSHS COVID‑19 Call Center:  2-1-1 Option 6 
Hours: 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Monday – Friday 

Posted April 6, 2020


ATTENTION  BACTERIOLOGICAL WATER CUSTOMERS

Public Water Systems and Private

Effective March 30, 2020

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 response efforts, the hours and times for bacteriological water receipt will change to the following starting on March, 30, 2020.

Water samples accepted Monday – Thursday 8am – 2pm (Except Federal Holidays).

An updated notification will be sent when we resume to our regular schedule of Monday – Thursday 8am – 4pm (Except Federal Holidays). 

For questions or comments: Call toll free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7598 or for local calls 512-776-7598


Last updated June 1, 2021