Austin Laboratory Correspondence and Bulletins


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See also South Texas Laboratory Correspondence and Bulletins.


NOTICE: Expiring Blood Collection Tubes


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

Lot #: 1040046

Expiration Date: 08/31/2022

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 : August 2, 2022


Resumption of Reporting OXA-58 Carbapenemase Results for Carbapenem Resistant Acinetobacter baumanii (CRAB) Isolates

Effective July 8, 2022, the DSHS Austin Laboratory has resumed reporting test results for the presence of blaOXA-58 in CRAB specimens. The process control issue that led to the temporary pause in reporting has been resolved.

The DSHS Laboratory appreciates the dedication and commitment of healthcare providers to ensuring the best possible health outcomes for all Texans.

   

Questions?

Please contact the Molecular Biology Team 

Phone: 512-776-6510

Email: Lab.Microbiology@dshs.texas.gov

Posted July 11, 2022


Newborn Screening Quality Improvement Hints – June 2022

How To Update Demographic Information On The Newborn Screening 


AS A BEST PRACTICE: have parents review all demographic information prior to collection of the blood on the filter paper.

Why is it important not to attach a demographic form from one kit to the filter paper part of another kit?

Each Newborn Screening Kit has a unique serial number that is printed on both the demographic form and the filter paper. If a demographic form from one kit is used with the filter paper from another, there will be a delay in testing and the specimen may be rejected for testing. To avoid a delay in testing or specimen rejection, contact the DSHS Laboratory at the time of any accidents. Small demographic errors can be fixed on the original demographic form by making a single line through the incorrect information, writing the correct information above or adjacent to the error, and initialing and dating near the correct information.   
Upon receipt of a shipment of newborn screening cards, inspect to verify no manufacturing errors with the kits. If there are concerns on any kits prior to collection, contact the DSHS Newborn Screening Laboratory at (512) 776-7333. 

Download Quality Improvement Hint Volume 6-2022  for:

-Examples of Newborn Screening Kit 
-Laboratory Contact Information
-Tips on how to avoid this rejection
-Links to other resources about newborn screening specimen collection

Find all Spot Focus Quality Improvement Hints here.

Questions? 
1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or locally 512-776-7333
NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov 

Posted July 6, 2022 



DSHS-SOUTH TEXAS LABORATORY
SHORTAGE OF EDTA TUBES FOR CBC/HEMOGLOBIN A1C

There is an unavailability of EDTA (purple top) tubes amongst our various vendors and we do not have a confirmed date of when we will receive our order of tubes. We are limited to the low inventory in stock, and we will be stringent on supplying tubes to our submitters.

If you have an avenue to order tubes, please do so. If we run out of tubes, we will send out another notification.

Corrine Trevino-Gonzales, B.S. MT(ASCP)
Hematology/Urinalysis Team Lead
DSHS-South Texas Laboratory
1301 S. Rangerville Road
Harlingen, TX  78552

Telephone: (956) 364-8751
Fax: (956) 412-8794
Email: corrine.gonzales@dshs.texas.gov

Posted June 27, 2022



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


Many cyclosporiasis cases have occurred in Texas during the past nine summers. The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on a project to identify and sequence Cyclospora specimens that could help connect cyclosporiasis cases in outbreak investigations. Therefore, we are requesting that clinical laboratories send all appropriate* Cyclospora positive stool specimens to the DSHS Laboratory in Austin for molecular analysis. These specimen submissions will help us detect future disease clusters and respond to them more quickly. 

Why are We Asking You? 

  • Cyclosporiasis is a reportable condition in Texas. Consistency in reporting confirmed cases is an important public health goal. Healthcare providers and laboratories are required to report confirmed cyclosporiasis cases to their respective local health department within one week, per 
    25 Tex. Admin. Code §97.3. 
    This test is free! Submitting laboratories will not be charged for testing specimens sent for this surveillance project. A results report will be issued to the submitting laboratory. 

*Appropriate Cyclospora Specimens for Molecular Analysis

  • Required Media Stool specimens fixed with Zn-PVA, Cu-PVA or Ecofix (or other parasitology fixative without formalin) are acceptable. Raw stool and unfixed specimens (e.g., collected in Cary-Blair transport media for bacteriologic testing) are also acceptable. Please note: Specimens fixed in LV-PVA are not acceptable as the formalin it contains interferes with the testing process. 
  • Required Volume A minimum sample of 300 µl is required for testing.
  • Required Shipping Temperature Fixed samples may be stored and shipped at room temperature. Unfixed and raw stool specimens should be kept at 2°C–8°C and be shipped overnight in tightly sealed, insulated containers with cold packs. Do not use dry ice. Please ensure all specimen containers are securely tightened to avoid leakage.

Cyclospora Specimen Submission Process 

  • All Submitters MUST Have a Submitter ID Number with DSHS. If you do not already have an account or submitter number or you need to update information already on file, please download a Submitter ID Number Request Form by copying and pasting the following link into a browser: https://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/forms/Submitter-ID-Request-Form-Sept--2017.pdf. Complete all applicable fields and email the completed form to labinfo@dshs.texas.gov, or fax it to (512) 776-7533.
  • Specimens Must be Labeled Appropriately. Each specimen must have at least two unique patient identifiers that match the information provided on the specimen submission form
  • Cyclospora Specimens Must be Accompanied by a G-2B Specimen Submission Form. If your facility needs an updated G-2B submission form, please email LabInfo@dshs.texas.gov to request on
  • All Required Fields in the G-2B Form Must be Completed. Please ensure the required fields, including demographic information and the ordering physician’s NPI number (when applicable), are completed. 
    A sample G-2B form is attached to this notice. Required fields for Cyclospora stool specimens are highlighted green. Optional fields are highlighted orang
  • Labeling and Shipping and Requirements Ship specimens as a Category B Biological Substance. 

Shipping Information and Addresses 
More details on shipping information may be found at
https://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/mrs_shipping.shtm#Shipping 

Regular Mail Services 
Specimen Receiving: Walter Douglass
Laboratory Services Section, MC 1947
Department of State Health Services 
PO Box 149347 
1100 W. 49th Street 
Austin, TX 78714-9347 
Phone: 512-776-7569

Overnight/Priority Courier Services

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

For laboratory questions about Cyclospora testing or specimen suitability, please contact the Parasitology Team Lead, La Chae’ Butler, at 512-776-7560.
For all other questions, please contact Kenneth Davis at 512-921-5368 or email FoodborneTexas@dshs.texas.gov.


Sample Submission Form (G-2B) for Cyclospora 

G2B Cyclospora Sample Submission Form


Posted May 11, 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 transport
 May 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, please call (512) 776-7598.

Please 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. Please 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. Please 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: Please 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, please 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, please contact Bethany Bolling at

(512) 776-2442, or email bethany.bolling@dshs.texas.gov.

DSHS Austin Campus Map and Lab Receiving Dock

Posted : May 06, 2022



Newborn Screening Quality Improvement Hints - April 2022 Specimen Too Old To Test Upon Receipt

  In 2021, over 2,000 newborn screening specimens were rejected because specimens were received at the laboratory too old to test.

Why is it important for specimens to arrive at the DSHS laboratory within thirteen days of specimen collection?

The quick delivery of specimens to the testing laboratory is imperative. It is important that submitting facilities are mindful of the time between collection and shipment for the following reasons:

  • Finding and treating these disorders early can prevent serious complications, such as growth problems, developmental delays, deafness, blindness, intellectual disabilities, seizures, and sudden or early death.  Some conditions may manifest with acute symptoms in the first days of life and require immediate treatment to reduce risk of morbidity and mortality.
  • Based on CLIA and the equipment manufacturer's guidelines, the DSHS NBS Laboratory established a timeframe for specimen stability from the date of specimen collection.
  • Specimens not received at the DSHS Laboratory within 13 days of collection will be unsatisfactory for testing and require a recollection.

View the National Newborn Screening Timeliness Goals here: https://www.hrsa.gov/advisory-committees/heritable-disorders/newborn-screening-timeliness.html

Download Quality Improvement Hint Volume 4-2022 for:

-Examples of demographic forms

-Tips on how to avoid this rejection

-Links to other resources about newborn screening specimen collection 

Find all Spot Focus Quality Improvement Hints here.

Questions?

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

NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted : May 03, 2022



NOTICE: Expiring Blood Collection Tubes

Type of Tube: 6mL Red Top Serum Tube (Silicone Coated)
Lot #: 03511968
Expiration Date: 05/31/2022

Specimens collected in expired tubes will be rejected!

What to do next:
• Review your stock and discard 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 : May 02, 2022


DSHS South Texas Laboratory – Correspondence & Bulletins Update

To better serve our submitters, the DSHS will be renovating the South Texas Laboratory (STL). As a result, the STL will not be accepting specimens for TB testing from April 15, 2022 through Spring of 2023; the anticipated completion date of the renovations. In preparation for the laboratory closure, specimens for Acid Fast Bacilli (AFB) smear and culture testing should be submitted directly to the Austin Laboratory.

Please Note:

  • The STL will not forward TB specimens to the Austin Laboratory during the period of renovation.
  • The Austin Laboratory will not accept urine specimens for TB testing.

The following steps are needed to submit specimens to Austin. 

Have a DSHS Submitter ID Number If you already have a submitter ID number with the STL, you do not need to get another for the Austin Laboratory.
If you do not already have an account or submitter number, or you need to update information already on file, please download a Submitter ID Number Request Form by copying and pasting the following link into a browser: https://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/forms/Submitter-ID-Request-Form-Sept--2017.pdf. Complete all applicable fields and email the completed form to labinfo@dshs.texas.gov, or fax it to (512) 776-7533.

Request Austin Laboratory Specimen Submission Forms South Texas Laboratory F40 Specimen Submission Forms are not acceptable at the Austin Laboratory. Please contact Austin Laboratory Reporting to obtain master copies of the G-MYCO submission forms. Examples of current submission forms and instructions for the Laboratory are available at http://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/mrs_forms.shtm.

Order Shipping Supplies from the Austin Laboratory Request shipping containers from the Austin laboratory by completing the Austin Laboratory’s G6F Order Form for TB Supplies, which is available at https://dshs.texas.gov/lab/MRS_forms.shtm.

  • Please Note: South Texas Laboratory supply order forms are not acceptable at the Austin Laboratory due to differences in the shipping products provided by each location. 

 Shipping Addresses:

For Regular Mail Services
Specimen Receiving: Walter Douglass
Laboratory Services Section, MC 1947
Department of State Health Services
PO Box 149347
1100 W. 49th Street
Austin, TX 78714-9347
 

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

  • For questions about Submitter ID Numbers and Specimen Submission Forms, please contact
    Tiffunee Odoms, Laboratory Reporting Branch Manager
    email:
    LabInfo@dshs.texas.gov
    phone: (512)776-7578 or 1-888-963-7111, Ext. 7578,
    fax: (512)776-7533

  • For questions about Supply Order Forms and TB Mailers, please contact
    John Holcomb, Laboratory Supply Team Lead
    email:John.Holcomb@dshs.texas.gov
    phone: (512)776-2475
    fax:(512) 776-7480

  • For general questions about Shipping and Logistics, please contact
    Walter Douglass, Specimen Acquisition
    email:Walter.Douglass@dshs.texas.gov
    phone: 512-776-7569

    • Please Note: If your local health department’s TB program has a contract with DSHS’ TB and Hansen’s Disease Unit, please contact tbprogram@dshs.texas.gov for information about the courier service offered through FedEx. A FedEx courier account is required to avail of this service.

Posted: April 11, 2022


Request for Submission
of
Norovirus Specimens 

to the Texas DSHS Austin Laboratory


Testing case patients for unknown gastrointestinal illnesses is helpful for clinical decision making and for community outbreak detection and investigation purposes. Therefore, the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Laboratory is available to test and sequence gastrointestinal pathogens, including norovirus (NoV). So far in 2022, 12 suspected and confirmed NoV outbreaks have been reported to the DSHS Central Office. Since NoV outbreaks tend to be underreported to public health officials, the true incidence of cases is likely higher.

During outbreak investigations, local or regional health departments may request that you forward clinical specimens to the DSHS Laboratory for additional NoV testing. In such situations, it is essential you submit the requested specimens to the Laboratory to assist epidemiology teams across the state in linking individual cases during outbreak investigations.
The DSHS Laboratory does not charge for the testing of clinical specimens that are requested for NoV outbreak investigation purposes.

Appropriate Specimen Type, Packaging, and Shipping

  • Required specimens for NoV testing are fresh stool specimens in sterile containers.
  • A minimum sample of 200 µl is required for RT-PCR testing.
  • Raw stool specimens should be stored cold at 4 °C and shipped overnight in insulated containers with cold packs or wet ice. Do not freeze the specimens.
  • Please ensure at least two unique patient identifiers are on the specimen container and its accompanying submission form. Both sets of unique identifiers must be identical. 

Norovirus Sample Submission Process

  • Norovirus specimens must be accompanied by a G-2B Specimen Submission Form. A sample G-2B form is attached to this notice in which the fields required for norovirus stool specimens are highlighted green. Optional fields are highlighted orange.
  • All required fields in the G-2B form must be completed. Do not submit old forms with your specimens. If your facility needs an updated G-2B submission form, please email LabInfo@dshs.texas.gov.  
  • All submitters must have a submitter ID number with DSHS. If you do not already have an account or submitter number with the DSHS Laboratory, please contact the laboratory at LabInfo@dshs.texas.gov before submitting specimens.

Shipping Information & Address:

https://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/mrs_shipping.shtm#Shipping

 

Shipping Addresses:

For Regular Mail Services
Specimen Receiving: Walter Douglass
Laboratory Services Section, MC 1947
Department of State Health Services
PO Box 149347
1100 W. 49th Street
Austin, TX 78714-9347  

For Overnight/Priority Courier Service
Specimen Receiving: Walter Douglass
Laboratory Services Section, MC 1947
Department of State Health Services
1100 W. 49th Street
Austin, TX 78756-3199
Phone: 512-776-7569

For laboratory questions about NoV testing or specimen suitability, please contact the Molecular Biology Team Lead at

(512) 776-6510.

For other questions related to NoV submissions and DSHS’ NoV surveillance project, please contact Kenneth Davis at

(512) 921-5368 or email FoodborneTexas@dshs.texas.gov.

G-2B Form Jan 2022 SAMPLE_for Norovirus G2B

Posted April 6, 2022



Tips to Prevent Clotted Specimens


The number one reason for rejection of whole blood specimens is clotting. Clotting can happen during or immediately after specimen collection due to insufficient mixing and slow draw time.

Tips for preventing clotted specimens:

  • Invert the blood collection tube 8-10 times to ensure the blood is in contact with the anticoagulant inside of the collection tube.
  • Collect the required volume within 2 minutes.
  • Occasionally tap the capillary tube while collecting the blood specimen.
  • Avoid squeezing, milking, or scraping the finger during fingerstick collection.
  • Avoid overfilling blood collection tubes. They have a specific amount of anticoagulant for the volume of blood as noted on the collection tube.
  • For good blood flow, keep the patient’s arm below the level of the patient’s heart.  

For questions, contact ClinicalChemistry@dshs.texas.gov

Posted : April 01, 2022


In order to better serve our submitters, we will be conducting renovations of the South Texas Laboratory (STL).  In preparation for these renovations, we are asking submitters that submit specimens for tuberculosis testing perform a few tasks so that they can receive TB testing at the Austin laboratory.  STL will no longer be able to accept your specimen for TB testing as of April 15, 2022. We do not know when the renovations will be finished but they are scheduled to be completed by the beginning of 2023.

During this time, we are asking our submitters to send TB samples for AFB and culture to Austin laboratory directly.  In order to submit specimens to the Austin laboratory for TB testing you will need to request to become a submitter to the Austin laboratory (if you do not already have an Austin submitter number), request shipping containers from the Austin laboratory with the proper label and obtain the Austin laboratory submission form (will be provided once you sign up to become an Austin laboratory submitter).

STL will not be able to forward your specimens to the Austin laboratory during this period and so you will need to request to become an Austin laboratory submitter.

This only applies to TB Samples submitted for AFB smear and culture.

NOTE: DSHS Austin Lab will not accept urine specimens for TB testing.

Contact Person to become a submitter and obtain TB submission form

Tiffunee Odoms

Laboratory Reporting Branch Manager

Laboratory Services Section MC 1947

Texas Department of State Health Services

PO Box 149347

Austin, Texas 78714-9347

Phone: 512-776-6275

Fax: 512-776-7533

tiffunee.odoms@dshs.texas.gov 


Contact information to request TB mailing containers

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