Our Lab

Who are we?

The Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness (LMPHW) Laboratory provides timely and accurate test results for the numerous and varied clients of the Health Department, being community-oriented and focused on disease control and prevention. The LMPHW Laboratory supports the mission of the department.

The LMPHW Laboratory located at 430 East Gray St. employs seven full-time employees, including one Technical/General Supervisor, four Laboratory Technologists, one Laboratory Assistant and one Management Assistant. The Laboratory Director is a part-time, contracted position. The combined years of laboratory experience is over 100 years!

Photo of the seven employees of the public health lab

Front row, left to right: 
Michael Mathis, Rochelle Ransom, Sharon Dean, Carol Glasscock and Amy Hong
 
Back row, left to right: 
Gwen Nixon, Leslie Wolf, Maura Murphy

 

 

 

Laboratory Technologists:  Amy Gentry Hong, Carol Glasscock, Maura Murphy, and Rochelle Ransom

Laboratory Assistant:  Michael Mathis

Management Assistant:  Sharon Dean

Laboratory Technical & General Supervisor:  Gwen Nixon

Laboratory Technical Director:  Leslie A. Wolf, PhD, HCLD(ABB)

The LMPHW Laboratory Technical Director, Dr. Leslie Wolf, began serving in this role effective July 1, 2013. She came to us with many years of effective state public health laboratory leadership experience, and we are excited that she chose to continue her career in the Louisville Public Health and Wellness Department.  Dr. Wolf’s career in public health began as a 1997 Emerging Infectious Disease Laboratory APHL/CDC Post-doctoral Fellow at the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health (NCSLPH). After her fellowship, she was hired at the NCSLPH and quickly advanced in her career. She served as laboratory director from August 2006 to June 2012 as she led the NCSLPH through many transitions and championed many public health efforts. During her time at NCSLPH, she was recognized in 2002 as a PulseStar Award recipient for her work with pulsed field gel electrophoresis DNA fingerprinting. She also was presented with the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) Emerging Leader Award in May 2008. This award honors an individual whose leadership has been instrumental in one or more advances in laboratory science, practice, management, policy or education within his/her first 5-10 years in the profession.

What tests do we perform?

What tests do we perform?

  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) testing (Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Herpes, Syphilis)
  • Blood Lead testing
  • Urine Drug Screens (UDS)
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB)
  • Water testing (recreational water)
  • Mosquito testing for West Nile Virus, , Zika Virus and St. Louis Encephalitis Virus (WNV Zika, SLE, seasonal)

Many of these tests are performed daily (Chlamydia/Gonorrhea, Syphilis-RPR, UDS, Blood Lead and Water).  Confirmatory testing for Syphilis (FTA-ABS) is performed twice a week, due to a lower volume of samples.  Herpes testing is performed as requested and seasonal mosquito testing is performed once a week for reasons related to laboratory processes, as well as sample volume.

Why do we perform testing?

STD testing is performed to diagnose, monitor, control and prevent transmission of these important diseases in our community.  Testing at LMPHW assists with disease surveillance and achieving Healthy Louisville 2020 goals. 

Blood lead testing screens children for elevated lead levels to limit the harmful effects of this contaminant on their brain development. Children with elevated levels are monitored, and if necessary, an environmental investigation is started to find the source of exposure. 

Urine Drug Screens are performed to help monitor clients being treated for drug abuse, and to identify persons in legal custody for compliance with abstinence from drug use.  Contracted agencies include the MORE Center, Louisville Metro Corrections and St. Jude’s Women’s Recovery.  UDS tests include alcohol, amphetamine, barbiturate, benzodiazepine, buprenorphine, cannabinoid, cocaine, methadone, opiate, oxycodone and creatinine, pH, and specific gravity to check for specimen integrity.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) testing is performed in support of the LMPHW Regional TB Clinic. Given the infectious nature of MTB, fast and accurate diagnosis is an important element of MTB treatment and control. Two tests are performed in the laboratory. One is a diagnostic test for the detection of MTB complex DNA in sputum samples. The second test is a blood test that can help detect latent MTB infection.

Water testing is performed on recreational water for sanitation reasons.   The presence of some bacteria in water samples increases the risk of spreading disease, such as diarrhea.  Recreational water samples are tested for total coliforms and E. coli and public spa waters are tested for Pseudomonas aeruginosa to detect any problems with chlorination, water clarity, filter backwash or pool cleaning processes, and adherence of swimmers to pool policies, such as showering before swimming or not swimming while ill with gastrointestinal symptoms.

Mosquito testing is performed on mosquito species known to carry West Nile Virus, Zika Virus and St. Louis Encephalitis Virus  (WNV, Zika and SLE).  Mosquitoes are collected and sorted according to date and location by Environmental Health professionals.  If a mosquito pool is positive for any of these viruses, then targeted mosquito control activities, such as fogging, are implemented. This in turn, reduces the risk of transmission of WNV, Zika Virus or SLE to people in the community.

How many tests are done annually?

Tests Performed

Annual Number  (FY2017)

Chlamydia/Gonorrhea

34,284

Syphilis screen (RPR)

 8,116

Syphilis confirmation (FTA)

     276

Herpes

       123

Blood Lead

             7,369

Urine Drug Screens (UDS)

135,352

Recreational Water testing (total & fecal coliforms)

            7,214

Mosquito testing for West Nile Virus (WNV)

      380

 

The laboratory operating hours are 7 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, contact the laboratory at (502) 574-6540.