South Texas Laboratory
About the Lab
The South Texas Laboratory (STL) is a branch of the Department of State Health Services Laboratory Services Section and is located in Harlingen, Texas. This Laboratory is dedicated to providing high-quality, accurate test results to residents of the Rio Grande Valley. It acts as a Public Health Laboratory serving 10 Texas regions with more than 70 clinics. It also supports local hospitals and local health departments.
This lab works as an extension of the DSHS headquarters laboratory in Austin, Texas.
The STL operates as a full-service laboratory encompassing the general Clinical Laboratory testing, Mycobacteriology, Public Health Serology, Consumer Microbiology, Influenza Surveillance Testing, and Emergency Preparedness sections.
Clinical Laboratory: Provides services such as, Clinical Chemistry, Hematology and Urinalysis. The Clinical Laboratory performs toxicity testing related to latent TB infection cases.
Mycobacteriology Section: Provides tuberculosis (TB) testing services and has immediate access to medical authorities to access new cases and case contacts. The Mycobacteriology Laboratory also serves as a Binational TB Laboratory and has been instrumental in training Mexico border state laboratory TB technologists to assist in the elimination of TB through the DSHS Binational Program. The STL was recognized by Rotary International as an international training center for TB testing for its work in training Mexican scientists in TB testing practices. This joint efforts helps monitor and control TB along the US-Mexico border.
Public Health Serology Section: Is the Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Laboratory. Services include Syphilis Serology and are provided for the Hidalgo County Health Department, Region 11 HIV/STD, clinics, and local hospitals.
Consumer Microbiology: Provides water testing for public water systems in Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Willacy, Zapata, Kenedy, Kleberg, Harris, and Bexar counties for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). The laboratory also tests vended and bottled water samples for TCEQ’s Manufactured Foods Division and provides water testing for individual wells and construction samples. The STL is accredited by the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program Institute for the microbiological examination of drinking water.
Emergency Preparedness Section: Responds to public health emergencies and health threats and biological agents for bioterrorism testing, which includes 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, Zika, and Sars-CoV-2 surveillance testing. The STL Emergency Preparedness Section serves eight counties, local hospitals, and reference laboratories and is a member of the Laboratory Response Network.
The STL 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 the College of American Pathologists or other approved certification entity.
The Administrative Laboratory Director is a registered Medical Technologist. General Supervisors are all registered Medical Technologists and have extensive laboratory experience.
STL 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).