The Southern Nevada Health District has housed a clinical laboratory since its formation in 1962. The lab provides support for the district's communicable disease and family planning programs.
Level B Laboratory
Through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a Level B public health laboratory was constructed adjacent to the Southern Nevada Health District Shadow Lane complex. The lab and additional staff have greatly improved health surveillance and increased chances for early identification of potential health hazards.
CDC guidelines delineate public health laboratory responsibilities according to the dangers and complexities of analyzing the particular agents involved.
The following describes the various laboratory levels:
Level A Laboratories: Perform routine clinical testing and presumptive agent testing. Agents such as anthrax could be presumptively tested, but not confirmed at a level A laboratory.
Examples of level A laboratories include independent clinical labs and those at universities and community hospitals.
Level B Laboratories: Perform more specialized testing on more hazardous agents. Agents such as anthrax and plague can be confirmed by a level B laboratory.
Most public health laboratories run by state or local governments are in this category.
Level C Laboratories: Perform sophisticated reference testing on more virulent pathogens, which require additional containment. An agent such as tularemia, which can cause infection in very small quantities, would be confirmed at a level C laboratory.
Some public health labs and the CDC laboratories are rated at level C.
Level D Laboratories: Perform testing on the most dangerous and virulent pathogens, like smallpox. Level D labs have highly-specialized containment equipment and laboratory technicians.
Only CDC, the Department of Defense, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases are equipped with level D laboratories.