Clinical Bacteriology Testing at DSHS Laboratory

Clinical Bacteriology Home | Clinical Bacteriology Testing at DSHSSubmitting Clinical Bacteriology Specimens to DSHS Laboratory | Clinical Bacteriology FAQs | Clinical Bacteriology Resources 

Texas Notifiable Conditions Surveillance

The clinical bacteriology group receives and tests many of the specimens submitted for notifiable conditions. The Texas Notifiable Conditions List is available at Notifiable Conditions | Texas DSHS.

2024 Texas Notifiable Conditions List

The process of reporting a notifiable condition to DSHS includes
1. Reporting the condition to the local or regional health department (of the patient’s county of residence) within the reporting timeframe.
2. Submitting an isolate or clinical specimen to the DSHS Laboratory. This is a required step for some, but not all notifiable conditions.

Texas Admin. Code 25 §97.2 identifies who must notify the local health authority of a person or animal suspected of having a notifiable condition.

Texas Admin. Code 25 §97.3 (4) identifies what specimens of these must be submitted to DSHS Laboratory for surveillance.

An outline of the reporting and specimen submission process is available here.

Note: Only some notifiable conditions require a specimen be sent to the DSHS Laboratory. The table below lists the notifiable condition specimens processed by the Clinical Bacteriology Group only. Refer to the Notifiable Conditions List for the complete list of required specimens. Pure cultures of the organisms should be submitted as they become available

"A table titled Notifiable Condition Specimens Processed by Clinical Bacteriology Group that lists the different required laboratory submissions for reportable condition organisms and the required submission form details for each isolate. "

 

Diphtheria

Diphtheria is a potentially serious respiratory and skin disease caused by toxin producing Corynebacterium diphtheriae bacteria. The bacteria are usually spread from person-to-person"Several blue bacilli-shaped bacteria. Some of the bacterial cells are touching. " via respiratory secretions. Occasionally it may spread through contact with skin lesions. Confirmed and suspected cases of diphtheria are immediately reportable in Texas.

Diphtheria Testing at DSHS Austin Laboratory

The Laboratory carries out isolation and identification of Corynebacterium diphtheriae.

Please refer to DSHS’ LTSM test menu for more details on C. diphtheriae testing at the Laboratory. General specimen submission guidance is available on DSHS’ specimen submission and shipping requirements pages.

For more information on diphtheria, visit the DSHS’ Infectious Disease Control’s webpages at Diphtheria | Texas DSHS and CDC at Diphtheria | CDC.
 

Hemophilus influenzae Disease

Haemophilus influenzae disease is the name for any disease caused by six identifiable types of H. influenzae bacteria (types a through f) or"Small colonies and confluent growth of H. influenzae bacteria on a brown solid chocolate agar surface in an Petri dish." non-typeable H. influenzae bacteria. H. influenzae, type b (Hib) usually causes the most severe disease and is the only type that is vaccine preventable. Some of these illnesses, such as ear infections, are mild while others, such as bloodstream infections, are invasive and serious. Despite its name, H. influenzae does not cause influenza (the flu). All cases of invasive H. influenzae disease are reportable in Texas.  

The Laboratory carries out identification of H. influenzae isolates. Specimens of invasive H. influenzae infections (taken from normally sterile sites such as blood or CSF) in children younger than 5 years must be submitted to DSHS for testing. Specimens from non-sterile sites (such as swabs) are not acceptable as notifiable condition specimen submissions. Specimens from older patients are not required for reporting purposes.  

Haemophilus influenzae Testing at the DSHS Austin Laboratory

Please refer to the DSHS’ LTSM test menu for more details on H. influenzae testing at the Laboratory. General specimen submission guidance is available on the DSHS’ specimen submission and shipping requirements pages.

For more information on Haemophilus influenzae disease, visit the DSHS’ Infectious Disease Control’s webpages at Haemophilus Influenzae (Including Hib) | Texas DSHS and CDC at Haemophilus influenzae Disease (including Hib) | CDC

 

Listeriosis

Listeriosis is a serious infection caused"A wheel of white cheese on a wooden board. A large slice has been removed from the wheel of cheese." by eating food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. L. monocytogenes is most likely to sicken pregnant women and their newborns, adults aged 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems. Listeriosis is a reportable condition in Texas.

Listeria monocytogenes Testing at DSHS Austin Laboratory

The DSHS Laboratory carries out identification of L. monocytogenes isolates. The Laboratory also identifies Listeria species, including monocytogenes, from submitted food and environmental samples.

Please refer to the DSHS’ LTSM test menu for more details on L. monocytogenes testing at the Laboratory. General specimen submission guidance is available on the DSHS’ specimen submission and shipping requirements pages.

For more information on listeriosis, visit the CDC at Symptoms | Listeria | CDC

 

Meningococcal Invasive Disease

Meningococcal disease is a serious and"Several blue-colored di-cocci bacteria with a dark background. "​ potentially life-threatening infection caused by Neisseria meningitidis bacteria. N. meningitidis is spread from person-to-person either by:

  • Direct contact with respiratory and throat secretions (e.g., kissing)
  • Indirect contact (e.g., sharing of eating utensils, toothbrushes), or
  • Aerosol droplets (e.g., coughing and sneezing).

Common signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease include sudden onset of high fever, neck stiffness, confusion, nausea, vomiting, lethargy, and rash. Without prompt and appropriate treatment, the infection can progress rapidly and result in death. All cases of meningococcal invasive disease are immediately reportable in Texas.  

Neisseria meningitidis Testing at the DSHS Austin Laboratory

The Clinical Bacteriology Laboratory carries out identification of N. meningitidis isolates.

The Laboratory also serotypes N. meningitidis from sterile sites or purpuric lesions. Please refer to the DSHS’ LTSM test menu for more details on N. meningitidis testing at the Laboratory. General specimen submission guidance is available on the DSHS’ specimen submission and shipping requirements pages.

For more information on Meningococcal Invasive Disease, visit the DSHS’ Infectious Disease Control’s webpages at Meningococcal Invasive Disease | Texas DSHS and the CDC at Meningococcal Disease | CDC.

 

Salmonellosis

Salmonellosis is an intestinal illness caused by infection by Salmonella bacteria. It is spread by eating contaminated foods, drinking contaminated water, or ingesting feces of an infected person or animal. Salmonellosis is commonly acquired by:

  • eating raw or undercooked poultry, eggs, or raw milk products or drinking raw milk or untreated water,
  • caring for a person with diarrhea,
  • working in a day-care facility or with diapered children,
  • handling pets (including reptiles and poultry) and/or wild animals, or livestock or cleaning their living areas.

 

Salmonella spp. Testing at DSHS Austin Laboratory

The Clinical Bacteriology Laboratory screens stool specimens for Salmonella. Clinical specimens that are positive for Salmonella by culture independent diagnostic test (CIDT) methods are accepted for confirmation testing. "A close up of a bearded dragon's face"

The DSHS Laboratory also tests food and environmental specimens for Salmonella.

Please refer to the DSHS’ LTSM test menu for more details on Salmonella testing at the Laboratory. General specimen submission guidance is available on the DSHS’ specimen submission and shipping requirements pages.

For more information on Salmonellosis, visit the DSHS’ Infectious Disease Control’s webpages at Salmonellosis (Salmonella Infection) | Texas DSHS and CDC at Salmonella Homepage | CDC.   

 

Escherichia coli Infection

Escherichia coli is a large and diverse species of bacteria. They are found in the environment, foods, and intestines of people and animals. Most strains of E. coli are harmless, but some can cause illness, including diarrhea, urinary tract infections, and respiratory diseases.

Escherichia coli Testing at the DSHS Austin Laboratory "Eight petri dishes with of different color agar media in each. Confluent bacterial growth on each  plate spells out the genus or species growing in each plate: E. coli, Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, Listeria"

The Clinical Bacteriology Laboratory tests clinical stool specimens and pure isolate E. coli for Shiga-like toxins and Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC). 

The DSHS Laboratory also tests food and environmental specimens for Shiga-toxin producing E. coli, and tests drinking water for the presence of E. coli and other coliforms.

Please refer to the DSHS’ LTSM test menu for more details on E. coli and coliform testing at the Laboratory. General specimen submission guidance is available on the DSHS’ specimen submission and shipping requirements pages.

For more information on E. coli infection, visit the DSHS’ Infectious Disease Control’s webpages at E. coli Infection (Escherichia coli Infection) | Texas DSHS and CDC’s webpages at E. coli (Escherichia coli) | E. coli | CDC.

Note: Shiga toxin producing E. coli infection (all E. coli O157:H7 isolates and any E. coli isolates or specimens in which Shiga toxin activity has been demonstrated (STX1, STX2) are required to be submitted to the DSHS Laboratory per Texas Administrative Code.

Staphylococcus aureus “Staph” Infections

Staphylococcus aureus bacteria are commonly found on peoples’ skin and noses. Most of the time these bacteria are harmless, but some S. aureus can cause blood infections, pneumonia, bone and heart valve infections, and foodborne illnesses. People with chronic conditions or weakened immune systems, and those living in healthcare facilities, are at a higher risk of developing staph infections.

Staph infections are caused by several types of S. aureus. Many of these pathogenic S. aureus exhibit differing levels of resistance to antimicrobial compounds. Staphylococci of significant public health concern include:

  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • Methicillin-Susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA)
  • Vancomycin-Intermediate Staphylococcus aureus (VISA)
  • Vancomycin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VRSA)

 

Staphylococcus aureus Testing at the DSHS Austin Laboratory

The Clinical Bacteriology Laboratory "A close up of an upturned petri dish with yellow and red colored agar.   The bottom of the plate is labeled "MRSA 10/18". Confluent,streaky growth and isolated growth is on the agar"identifies Staphylococcus and related species from fecal specimens and reference cultures. The antimicrobial susceptibility of Staphylococcus aureus specimens is also tested and determined, including susceptibility of isolates with a vancomycin MIC >2 μg/mL.

The Laboratory also tests food and milk samples for the presence of staphylococcal enterotoxin.

Please refer to the DSHS’ LTSM test menu for more details on Staphylococcus identification and susceptibility testing at the Laboratory. General specimen submission guidance is available on the DSHS’ specimen submission and shipping requirements pages.

For more information on vancomycin resistant S. aureus, visit the DSHS’ Infectious Disease Control’s webpages at Vancomycin Intermediate Staphylococcus aureus (VISA) and Vancomycin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VRSA) | Texas DSHS. For information on S. aureus in healthcare settings, visit Staphylococcus aureus in Healthcare Settings | HAI | CDC.

 

Streptococcus pneumoniae Infection (Pneumococcal Disease)