Microbiology Unit Notices


SPECIMENS FROM PATIENTS UNDER THE AGE OF 14 ARE NOW ACCEPTED FOR GONORRHEA AND CHLAMYDIA SCREENING AT THE DSHS AUSTIN LABORATORY

Effective 5/28/2024, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Austin Laboratory is accepting specimens collected from patients under the age of 14 for Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (GC) screening by amplified RNA probe.

For information on the appropriate GC/CT screening specimen types and specimen submission details, please refer to the attached flyer here.

 

QUESTIONS?

Ordering kits: Email: ContainerPrepGroup@dshs.texas.gov

Specimen Collection/Suitability: Call (512) 776-7657 or 512-776-2449

Specimen Shipping: (512) 776-7598 or 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7578 (toll free)

Supply Ordering: (512) 776-7661 or ContainerPrepGroup@dshs.texas.gov

Submitter Accounts, Submission Forms, or Result Reports: (512) 776-7578 or LabInfo@dshs.texas.gov

Posted May 24, 2024

Malaria Testing at the DSHS Austin Laboratory

The DSHS Laboratory works with local and regional healthcare facilities and laboratories across Texas to rapidly detect parasitic diseases and prevent their spread. To ensure the timely detection of parasitic diseases, including suspected cases of malaria, the DSHS Laboratory reminds providers that testing for the presence of Plasmodium spp. in clinical specimens is available via Giemsa-stained morphological exam and Real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (real-time PCR).

Required Specimens

  • For Morphological Examination (by Giemsa Stain)
    • Prepared Peripheral Blood Smears: Make thin and thick smears within one hour of specimen collection from finger prick collection.
    • Whole Blood: Collect venipuncture blood in EDTA purple/lavender
       top tubes.
  • For Real-Time PCR Testing
    • Whole Blood: Collect venipuncture blood in EDTA purple/lavender
       top tubes.

Required Storage and Shipping Temperatures

  • Thick and Thin Blood Smear Specimens:
    • Ship at ambient temperatures but may also be submitted cold with whole blood specimens.
  • Whole Blood Specimens:
    • Store at 2°C–8°C. Ship overnight in insulated containers with cold packs.

Required Specimen Submission Form and Supplemental Information

  • All specimens must be submitted with a G2-B Specimen Submission Form.
  • Patient’s travel history and transfusion history is required.

NEW SUBMITTERS: To set up a submitter account, download a Submitter ID Number Request Form, available at Submitter ID Request February 2022 (texas.gov). Complete all applicable fields and email form to labinfo@dshs.texas.gov or fax to 512-776-7533. A Lab Reporting team member will create a submitter account, provide a G2-B submission form, a supply order form, and Security Rights forms to request Web Portal access.

Malaria Testing and Specimen Submission Questions?

For questions about morphological examination, real-time PCR testing or specimen suitability, please contact the Medical Parasitology Team at (512) 776-7560 or Medical.Parasitology@dshs.texas.gov.

Please refer to the attached, printable one-page flyers for more guidance on collecting and shipping malaria specimens to the DSHS Laboratory.

Posted May 15, 2024


Request for Submission of Cryptosporidiosis Specimens to Texas DSHS Laboratory
 

Cryptosporidium (Crypto) parasites cause the gastrointestinal illness cryptosporidiosis. Both the parasite and the illness are commonly called “Crypto.” Infection with Crypto can be life threatening to immunocompromised individuals. The Crypto parasites’ chlorine tolerance has led to it become a leading cause of recreational waterborne illness in the U.S. Outbreaks of Cryptosporidiosis have occurred every year in Texas for over 10 years.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in CryptoNet, a surveillance program developed to identify and track Cryptosporidium species, genotypes, and subtypes linked to illnesses.

We are requesting clinical laboratories send all appropriate* Cryptosporidium positive stool specimens to the DSHS Laboratory in Austin for molecular analysis. These specimen submissions will help improve the epidemiological understanding of cryptosporidiosis and improve the response to future outbreaks.

Why the Request to Submit Crypto Stool Specimens?

  • Cryptosporidiosis is a Reportable Condition in Texas. Confirmed and suspected positive Crypto cases must be reported to the health department in the patient’s county of residence.  
    Submitting clinical specimens from these patients to the DSHS Laboratory is highly encouraged.  

  • This Test is Free! Submitting laboratories will not be charged for testing specimens sent for this surveillance project. A final report with PCR results will be issued to submitters.  

*For appropriate Crypto specimentype and specimen submission details, please refer to the attached flyer here.

NEW SUBMITTERS may set up a submitter account by downloading a Submitter ID Number Request Form, available on the DSHS website at Submitter ID Request (texas.gov).  Complete all applicable fields and email the form to labinfo@dshs.texas.gov or fax to 512-776-7533.  A Lab Reporting team member will create a submitter account, provide a G-2B submission form and Security Right forms to request Web Portal access. 

EXISTING SUBMITTERS may update their contact information by providing the updates in a Submitter ID Number Request Form and emailing the form to labinfo@dshs.texas.gov or faxing 512-776-7533.   

Additional guidance on obtaining a DSHS submitter ID number, labeling specimens correctly, and completing submission forms is available on the DSHS Specimen Collection webpages. 

Shipping Information and Addresses

  • Ensure Cary-Blair specimens are shipped cold.

  • Ship specimens as a Category B Biological Substance, UN3373.  

  • Information on submitter responsibilities when shipping infectious substances is available on the DSHS Specimen Shipping webpages.

Overnight/Priority Courier Service 

Specimen Receiving: Walter Douglass 

Public Health Laboratory Division 
Department of State Health Services 
1100 W. 49th Street  
Austin, TX 78756-3199 

Phone: 512-776-7569 

Questions?

Posted May 15, 2024


Request for Submission of 
Norovirus Specimens to the Texas DSHS Austin Laboratory

The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Laboratory requests facilities submit norovirus (NoV) clinical specimens to the Laboratory for molecular analysis. Norovirus outbreaks tend to be underreported to public health officials, so the true incidence of this foodborne illness is likely higher. Testing patients for unknown gastrointestinal illnesses is essential for clinical decision-making and for community outbreak detection and investigations. 

During outbreak investigations, your local or regional health departments may request that you forward clinical specimens to the DSHS Laboratory for molecular analysis. It is essential that you submit requested specimens to help DSHS epidemiologists link individual cases during outbreak investigations. 

FREE NoV TEST - There is no charge to the submitter for testing clinical specimens requested for NoV outbreak investigation purposes. 
Please Note: Testing is free only for NoV specimens that are requested by an epidemiologist for outbreak investigations. 

SHIP NoV Specimens COLD - Specimens that arrive ambient cannot be tested. Be sure to ship with enough cold packs to keep the specimens cool for up to 48 hours.

Refer to the attached, printable one-page flyers here for more guidance on collecting and shipping norovirus specimens to the Laboratory. 

NEW SUBMITTERS may set up a submitter account by downloading a Submitter ID Number Request Form, available on the DSHS website at Submitter ID Request (texas.gov). Complete all applicable fields and email the form to labinfo@dshs.texas.gov or fax to 512-776-7533.  
A Lab Reporting team member will create a submitter account, provide a G-2B submission form, and Security Right forms to request Web Portal access.

EXISTING SUBMITTERS may update their contact information by providing the updates in a Submitter ID Number Request Form and emailing the form to labinfo@dshs.texas.gov or faxing 512-776-7533. 

Shipping Address for Overnight/Priority Courier Service

Specimen Receiving: Walter Douglass
Public Health Laboratory Division,

Department of State Health Services
1100 W. 49th Street 
Austin, TX 78756-3199
Phone: 512-776-7569

Norovirus Questions? 

  • For laboratory questions about NoV testing or specimen suitability, please contact the Molecular Biology Team Lead at (512) 776-6510.
  • For questions related to DSHS’ NoV surveillance project (CaliciNet), please email FoodborneTexas@dshs.texas.gov.

For more information on specimen packaging and shipping, please check out the shipping and submission guidance on the DSHS Laboratory’s webpage here.

Posted May 14, 2024


Request for Submission of Cyclospora Specimens to Texas DSHS Austin Laboratory

Cyclosporiasis is a foodborne disease caused by the protozoan parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis. Most cyclosporiasis cases tend to occur seasonally between the months of April and August. Symptoms of cyclosporiasis include abdominal pain and severe, watery diarrhea that can last several weeks. Immunocompromised individuals are at increased risk of severe complications from the illness.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to identify and sequence Cyclospora specimens linked to cyclosporiasis outbreaks. Therefore, we request clinical laboratories send all appropriate* Cyclospora positive stool specimens to the DSHS Austin Laboratory for molecular analysis.

These specimens will help us detect disease clusters more quickly and improve the public health response to future outbreaks.

Why the Request to Submit Cyclospora Stool Specimens?

  • Cyclosporiasis is a Reportable Condition in Texas. Confirmed and suspected positive cyclosporiasis cases must be reported to the health department in the patient’s county of residence. Submitting clinical specimens from these patients to the DSHS Lab is highly encouraged.

  • This Test is Free! Submitting providers or laboratories will not be charged for testing and sequencing specimens submitted for this surveillance project. A final report with PCR results will be sent to submitters.

*For appropriate Cyclospora specimen type and specimen submission details, please refer to the attached flyer here.

NEW SUBMITTERS: To set up a submitter account, download a Submitter ID Number Request Form, available here. Complete all applicable fields and email to labinfo@dshs.texas.gov or fax to  512-776-7533.  A Lab Reporting team member will create a submitter account, provide a G-2B submission form, a supply order form, and Security Rights forms to request Web Portal access.

Additional guidance on obtaining a DSHS submitter ID number, labeling specimens correctly, and complete submission forms is available on the DSHS Specimen Collection webpages.

Shipping Information and Addresses

Ship specimens overnight as a Category B Biological Substance, UN3373. Information on submitter responsibilities when shipping infectious substances is available on the DSHS Specimen Shipping webpages.

Overnight/Priority Courier Service

Specimen Receiving: Walter Douglass
Laboratory Services Section
Department of State Health Services
1100 W. 49th Street
Austin, TX 78756-3199

Questions?

Posted April 12, 2024


A message from Grace Kubin, Ph.D., Associate Commissioner, DSHS Public Health Laboratory Division

It’s that time of year again! Each year, the DSHS Austin Public Health Laboratory conducts a survey, open to all our customers, to provide important feedback on laboratory services. Your feedback is used by the laboratory to better understand your needs and identify gaps in service as part of the laboratory's commitment to continuous quality improvement. If you are interested to see the results of last year’s survey, you can find them here: 2023 Annual DSHS Laboratory Customer Service Survey Results Summary.

I encourage you to take the 2024 Public Health Laboratory Customer Service Survey. It should not take more than 10 minutes to complete. For questions or concerns, please send an email to: Labinfo@dshs.texas.gov.

  2024 Public Health Laboratory Customer Service Survey.

**Feedback will be collected until April 30, 2024**

Posted April 1, 2024


DSHS Austin Laboratory Thanksgiving Holiday Closure Reminder

With the exception of Newborn Screening and Rabies testing, the DSHS Austin Laboratory will be closed, and no testing will occur Thursday, 11/23/2023 through Saturday, 11/25/2023. The DSHS Laboratory is completely closed on Sundays. Testing services will resume as normal, Monday, 11/27/2023.
See below for more details on selected testing.

Newborn Screening (NBS)

  • The Newborn Screening Laboratory will be closed Thanksgiving Day, Thursday 11/23/2023 and will resume testing on Friday, 11/24/2023.
  • DO NOT DELAY collection or shipment of newborn screening specimens.
  • Ship dried specimens within 24 hours of collection. If mail or courier services are unavailable, ship as soon as possible. 
  • DSHS recommends shipping specimens using an overnight or trackable service like USPS priority mail, FedEx, and UPS.

Clinical Chemistry

  • Total hemoglobin, lead, glucose, and lipid/cholesterol specimens must be received by Wednesday, 11/22/2023 to complete testing before the holiday closure.
  • DO NOT ship cholesterol, lipid profile, or glucose specimens on Fridays or on the day before a state-observed holiday.

Microbiology

Rabies Specimens:

  • Rabies specimens received after 8:00 a.m. Wednesday, 11/22/2023 will be tested Friday, 11/24/2023. Submitters will be notified of positive results by 12:00 p.m. Friday. All other results will be available Monday 11/27/2023.

  • Emergency testing will be available Friday, 11/24/2023 and Saturday, 11/25/2023 only by prior arrangement with Rabies testing staff. Call (512) 776-7595 before 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, 11/22/2023 to discuss. Specimen receipt must be guaranteed by 8:00 a.m. the morning of testing. Preliminary results will be called out as soon as emergency testing is completed. Final results will be available Monday 11/27/2023.
  • All other specimens will be tested on Monday, 11/27/2023, and results will be available by 5:00 p.m.

Tuberculosis (TB) Specimens:

  • Do not ship specimens for delivery between Wednesday, 11/22/2023 and Saturday, 11/25/2023. Refrigerate specimens collected during this period until shipping is possible.
  • Ensure critical AFB Smear and NAA for M. tuberculosis specimens are delivered by 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, 11/22/2023. 
  • Call (512) 776-7342 before 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, 11/22/2023 for expedited test requests.

Candida auris Swab Specimens:

  • Do not ship swabs for delivery from Wednesday, 11/22/2023 to Saturday, 11/24/2023.

Swabs collected during this period must be refrigerated and shipped on cold packs for delivery when Laboratory is open.

Carbapenem Resistant Organisms Swab Specimens:

  • Do not collect or ship swabs from Tuesday, 11/21/2023 to Saturday, 11/24/2023.

Neisseria gonorrhoeae Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing Specimens:

  • Do not collect or ship swabs from Tuesday, 11/21/2023 to Saturday, 11/24/2023.

Bacteriology Water Samples:

  • Water samples will not be accepted at DSHS Laboratory from Wednesday, 11/22/2023 to Saturday, 11/25/2023.

All Other Microbiology Specimens or Samples:

  • Do not ship specimens for delivery between Thursday, 11/23/2023 and Saturday, 11/25/2023. Store specimens collected during this time at an appropriate temperature, e.g. -70°C, or below for clinical virology samples. 
  • No tests will be performed from Thursday, 11/23/2023 to Saturday, 11/25/2023.

Ordering Laboratory Supplies:

Newborn Screening Medicaid/Paid Card Order Requests

  • Priority overnight shipping requests received on Wednesday 11/22/2023 will be processed and shipped via FedEx Priority Overnight.
  • All requests received before noon Wednesday 11/22/2023 will be processed and shipped via FedEx Ground.
  • Requests received after noon Wednesday 11/22/2023 through Saturday 11/25/2023 will be sent Monday, 11/27/2023.

Texas Health Steps/PKU/TB/HIV/Courier Supply Order Requests

  • All requests received on Wednesday 11/22/2023 will be audited, issued, and shipped via FedEx Ground.
  • Requests received before 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday 11/22/2023 will be audited, issued, and shipped via FedEx Ground Wednesday afternoon, 11/22/23.
  • Requests received after 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday 11/22/2023 through Sunday 11/26/2023 will be audited, issued, and shipped on Monday 11/27/2023 via FedEx Ground.

***Per FedEx website, FedEx Ground will be closed Thursday 11/23/2023 but will deliver packages Friday 11/24/2023.***

Questions?

Newborn Screening General Inquiries: (512) 776-7333
Microbiology General Inquiries: (512) 776-7599
Clinical Chemistry General Inquiries: (512) 776-6236

Newborn Screening:    NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov
Clinical Chemistry:    ClinicalChemistry@dshs.texas.gov
Microbiology Branch:         Lab.Microbiology@dshs.texas.gov
Specimen Submission:     LabInfo@dshs.texas.gov
Container Preparation:     ContainerPrepGroup@dshs.texas.gov 
 

Posted November 9, 2023


DSHS Laboratory – Microbiological Sciences Unit Notice

Effective November 1, 2023, the Texas DSHS Austin Laboratory will no longer provide serologic testing services for Plague (Yersinia pestis), IgG. 

If specimens for this assay are received at the Laboratory on or after November 1, 2023, Laboratory staff will contact the submitter to choose how to proceed with the specimens from the options below:

  • Option 1: Cancel the test and appropriately discard the specimens.
  • Option 2: Forward the specimens to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for testing with no shipping charges for submitter. Yersinia pestis serology testing at CDC has a projected turnaround time of two weeks.

Yersinia pestis Serology Testing Questions?

Contact the Serological Analysis Group
Phone: (512) 776-7760 or 1 (888) 963-7111 ext. 7760 (Toll Free)
Email: Lab.Microbiology@dshs.texas.gov 
 

Posted Nov 01, 2023


Retirement of Bordetella spp. PCR and Culture Testing Services at DSHS Laboratory

DSHS Laboratory – Microbiology Unit Notice

Retirement of Bordetella spp. Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction and B. pertussis Culture Identification Testing Services at DSHS Laboratory

Effective October 1, 2023, the DSHS Austin Microbiology Laboratory will no longer conduct Bordetella spp. Real-Time PCR and B. pertussis culture identification testing services.

Questions?

Posted Sep 27, 2023


****Effective Immediately****
Measles IgM Testing Information

Due to delays in the manufacture of Measles IgM EIA kits, the DSHS Laboratory is temporarily unable to perform Measles IgM testing. During this time, all specimens received at DSHS Laboratory requesting this test will be forwarded to Quest Diagnostics laboratory for processing.

Measles IgM test results will continue to be reported from DSHS Laboratory but will include an additional attached report displaying the Quest results.

Please continue to submit specimens for Measles IgM testing to DSHS Laboratory following specimen submission requirements.

DSHS Laboratory anticipates the Measles IgM EIA kits will be available again no later than March 2024. The Laboratory will release a follow-up notification when the issue is resolved.

Questions or Comments?

Call toll-free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7760

Call Local: 512-776-7760

Email: Lab.Microbiology@dshs.texas.gov

Posted Sep 21, 2023


Do Not Submit Live Animals to DSHS Laboratory for Rabies Testing

DSHS Austin Laboratory – Microbiological Sciences Unit Notice

The DSHS Austin Laboratory reminds submitters that we cannot accept live animals for rabies testing. Please refrain from delivering or shipping live bats or other live animals to the Laboratory.

Bats must be submitted

  • deceased,
  • in a clear, sealable bag, **New Requirement**
  • triple packed, per submission guidelines.

Double bag the heads of larger animals in appropriately sized bags such as red biohazard bags or sturdy garbage bags. Securely close the bags to prevent leaks. 

NOTE: Ship all specimens with ice packs to keep them cool in the elevated temperatures encountered during transit. High temperatures accelerate tissue decomposition which can compromise rabies test results.

Refer to the attached, printable guidance  Submitting Rabies Specimens to the DSHS Laboratory for detailed packaging and shipping instructions.

Questions about Rabies Testing and Shipping?

  • Rabies Team: (512) 776-7595 or rabies.team@dshs.texas.gov
  • Specimen Acquisition Group: (512) 776-7598 or 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7598 (toll free) 

Overnight/Priority Shipping Address

Texas Department of State Health Services
Laboratory Services Section
1100 W. 49th Street
Austin, TX 78756-3199

Posted Aug 11, 2023


Upcoming Training Webinars

During September and November 2022, the Denver Prevention Training Center and Texas Department of State Health Services will host two webinars on the management of gonorrhea and syphilis in Texas. 

Managing Superbugs: Antibiotic Resistant Gonorrhea (GC) in Texas 
Topics to be discussed include: 

  • Current trends in the prevalence of gonorrhea and antibiotic resistant N. gonorrhoeae in Texas. 
  • The new GC test to be offered by DSHS—gonorrhea antimicrobial susceptibility testing. 

Date: Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022
Time: 12:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m. CST
Register: https://courses.nnptc.org/class_information.html?id=3422
Continuing Education Credits: 2 hours (CME/NCPD)
Cost: Free

Exploring an Epidemic: Managing Syphilis During Pregnancy in Texas 
Topics to be discussed include: 

  • Current trends in the prevalence of syphilis in the general population and in pregnant women in Texas. 
  • Statewide efforts to address congenital syphilis. 

Date: Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022
Time: 12:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m. CST
Registration
Continuing Education Credits: 2 hours (CME/NCPD)
Cost: Free

Posted September 20, 2022


Effective 8/22/2022, the Texas Department of State Health Services Laboratory is now providing initial serologic screening testing services for chronic Chagas disease (Chagas IgG).

Medical providers are encouraged to submit serologic specimens to the DSHS Laboratory for screening. Chagas disease, which is caused by infection with the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, is a reportable condition to DSHS. The expansion of Chagas disease testing services at the Austin Laboratory will contribute to the surveillance and tracking of this reportable disease in Texas. 

View a description of the Chagas IgG tests, acceptable specimen types, and possible test results.

For questions about Chagas testing or specimen suitability, contact the Serological Analysis Team at 512-776-7657 or 512-776-7760.

For information regarding specimen packaging and shipping, call Specimen Receiving at (512) 776-7598.

Posted September 16, 2022


Beat the Summer Heat: Tips on How to Package Temperature-Sensitive Specimens to Keep Them Cold in Transit

DSHS Austin Laboratory – Microbiological Sciences and Clinical Chemistry Branch Notice

The DSHS Austin Laboratory reminds submitters to pack temperature-sensitive specimens with enough refrigerant to keep them frozen or cold for up to 48 hours to account for the hot Texas summers and elevated temperatures in transport vehicles. 

Several specimen types, including whole blood, plasma, serum, stool, exudate, rabies, and several clinical and environmental swabs specimens require cold shipping to the laboratory. Specimens that need to be shipped cold but arrive at the lab at ambient temperature are deemed to be unacceptable and may not be testable. 

Tips on packing and shipping temperature-sensitive specimens:

  • Ship temperature sensitive specimens overnight to the DSHS laboratory as soon as possible after collection. 
  • Identify the appropriate refrigerant for the specimen (e.g., dry ice, frozen gel packs, ice packs, or wet ice).
  • Pack specimen with enough refrigerant to keep it cold for up to 48 hours to account for the possibility of delays in delivery to the lab, particularly during the hot Texas summer temperatures
  • Pack remaining gaps in the container with additional absorbent insulation (such as newspaper, paper towels, cotton wadding, etc.) to reduce the volume and movement of warm air within the container. Minimizing open space in containers will keep contents colder for longer.
  • Do NOT ship for a weekend or holiday delivery; specimens are accepted during regular business hours only* (Mon. – Fri. 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.). Alternatively, keep specimen chilled until it can be delivered on a weekday.

*Saturday delivery of rabies specimens for same day testing is available in emergency situations only. Specimens must arrive at lab before 8:00 a.m. for same-day results. The rabies lab must first be notified by phone or email about a specimen submission. Call the Rabies Notification line at 1-800-252-8163 (toll free) or complete the Electronic Rabies Specimen Submission Notification Form.

The DSHS Laboratory staff thank you for your assistance with optimizing specimen submission and testing processes!

Additional Submission and Shipping Guidance Is Available

Antibiotic Resistance Lab Network Refer to specimen preparation and submission guidelines for carbapenem resistant organisms and Candida spp

Arbovirus Specimen Submitters: Refer to specimen packaging and shipping guidance at Arbovirus Field Surveillance Techniques.

Clinical Specimen Submitters: Refer to the appropriate test description in the LTSM’s Microbiology Test list for shipping and specimen handling requirements.

Food Sample Submitters: Refer to the food sample packaging and shipping instructions on the Consumer Microbiology Lab’s webpage

Rabies Specimen Submitters: Refer to specimen handling and shipping guidance on the Rabies Lab’s webpage

Questions about Shipping or Specimen Packaging/Container? 
Call Specimen Receiving at (512) 776-7598

Laboratory Shipping Address

For Overnight/Priority Shipping 

Texas Department of State Health Services
Laboratory Services Section
1100 W. 49th Street
Austin, TX 78756-3199

Posted August 4, 2022


Closure of Austin Greyhound Bus Station: Alternative Means of Submitting Rabies and Mosquito Specimens to Texas DSHS Austin Laboratory Required 

The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Austin Laboratory has been notified that the Greyhound Bus terminal at 916 E Koenig Ln. Austin, TX 78751 will permanently close May 31, 2022, but are ceasing freight 15, 2022. The Austin terminal closure will affect the ground transportation options available for shipping rabies and mosquito specimens to the Laboratory. From May 15 onward, rabies specimens will need to be delivered directly to the Austin Laboratory or transported by an alternative courier service of your choice. DSHS is currently investigating alternative shipping arrangements and will notify submitters of new options, if available. Should you have questions about the closure of the Greyhound station, call (512) 776-7598.

Note: Specimens sent to the Austin Greyhound terminal for pick up by laboratory staff on or after May 15 cannot not be collected and could be returned or lost! 

  • Packages transported by ground and overnight courier services (USPS, FedEx, UPS, LoneStar Overnight, etc.) are not affected by the Austin Greyhound terminal closure and will be accepted at the Laboratory during regular business hours Monday–Friday (8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.).
     
  • Hand-delivered samples are unaffected by the closure and may be delivered to Specimen Acquisition (Laboratory Specimen Receiving Dock) during regular business hours. Refer to the DSHS campus map for direction to the Specimen Receiving Dock, which is highlighted in yellow.
     
  • Regulatory packaging and shipping requirements are unaffected by the closure. Per regulations 49 CFR § 171-173, all rabies specimens must be packaged and properly labeled for shipping as a Biological Substance, Category B UN3373. Mosquito specimens must be shipped using the plastic collection cartons and insulated boxes provided by the Laboratory.
     
  • Submitters of rabies specimens are still required to call the toll-free Rabies Hotline at 1-800-252-8163 to alert the Laboratory of the expected arrival time and to provide any other relevant information about the shipment. 
     
  • DSHS does not recommended specimens be shipped for weekend or holiday delivery, including by couriers that may offer weekend deliveries. 

In the Event of an Emergency Situation 

  • Rabies Specimens: For emergency processing of a specimen on a Saturday, the submitter must first receive prior approval from the DSHS Laboratory. Contact the Rabies Identification Team before 4 p.m. on Friday at (512) 776-7595. After 4 p.m. Friday, call (512) 776-7111 and request to speak with a regional Zoonosis Control staff member. The specimen must arrive at the lab by 8 a.m. Saturday. 
     
  • Mosquito Specimens: Call the DSHS Arbovirus/Entomology Laboratory Team at (512) 776-2442, or toll free at 
    (888) 963-7111 ext. 2442 to discuss special testing requests. 

Additional Shipping and Packaging Information

Shipping Addresses

Rabies Specimens
ATTN: Rabies Team
Texas Department of State Health Services
Laboratory Services Section 
1100 W. 49th Street 
Austin, TX 78756
Be sure to label the package with BIOLOGICAL SUBSTANCE, CATEGORY B UN3373, and REFRIGERATE ON ARRIVAL

For laboratory questions about rabies testing or specimen suitability, contact the Rabies Identification Team at

(512) 776-7595, or email nachea.qualls@dshs.texas.gov.

Mosquito Specimens 

ATTN: Arbovirus/Entomology Team
Texas Department of State Health Services 
Laboratory Services Section
1100 W. 49th Street 
Austin, TX 78756

For laboratory questions about mosquito/arbovirus testing or specimen suitability, contact Bethany Bolling at (512) 776-2442, or email bethany.bolling@dshs.texas.gov.

Posted May 6, 2022