Winter 2019
Nevada State Public Health Lab

synapse: University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Doctors and Nurses at the Elko Hospital

Photo: Brin Reynolds

Protecting, maintaining and improving the health of our citizens and visitors since 1909.

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Keeping Nevada Healthy

Established in 1909, the Nevada State Public Health Lab (NSPHL) is located on the University of Nevada, Reno campus. The NSPHL serves as Nevada's centralized lab, representing a first line of defense in the rapid detection of a public health threat.

Public Health Lab Testing Icons

Public Health at Work for Nevadans

DISEASE SURVEILLANCE

Public health labs rapidly respond to infectious diseases, including West Nile Virus, whooping cough, mumps, statewide antimicrobial resistance monitoring and global threats.

  • In Nevada, the NSPHL categorized a resistant, untreatable "super bug" in our community (2017).
EMERGENCY RESPONSE

Public health labs respond to intentional chemical- and bio-terrorist attacks, natural disasters and disease outbreaks.

  • In Nevada, the NSPHL rapidly implemented Zika testing (2016).
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH

Public health labs ensure the safety of our water by testing for chemical or biological agents and other contaminants.

  • In Nevada, the NSPHL tested 296 schools' drinking fountains, recommending several fountains be replaced due to lead (2018).
Keeping Nevada Healthy

Established in 1909, the Nevada State Public Health Lab (NSPHL) is located on the University of Nevada, Reno campus. The NSPHL serves as Nevada's centralized lab, representing a first line of defense in the rapid detection of a public health threat.

FOOD SAFETY

Through a national network, public health labs constantly monitor and identify outbreaks of foodborne diseases, connecting cases to halt outbreaks quickly.

  • In Nevada, the NSPHL was the first agency in the country to identify Salmonella Poona in contaminated cucumbers (2015).
NEWBORN SCREENING

Public health labs screen 97% of the four million babies born each year to identify genetic and metabolic disorders that must be treated quickly to prevent lifelong disability or death.

  • In Nevada, the NSPHL has screened 155,170 newborns since the program began in July 2014, identifying 217 critical conditions. 
  • 586,718 Tests Performed Annually
  • 17 Nevada Counties Served
  • 24/7 Rapid Response to handle food-, disease- and terrorism-related emergencies statewide. A real-time electronic connection to local, state and federal agencies guarantees a rapid response.
IN A SINGLE DAY AT THE NEVADA STATE PUBLIC HEALTH LAB,

you never know what might arrive for analysis-from a food or water sample to a human blood sample. Testing must be completed promptly, so health officials and health care providers can make life-saving decisions.

Is a Las Vegas food sample part of a national outbreak? Is it safe to swim in the Truckee River? Is the child who played in a mouse infested area in danger of hantavirus? Has the West Nile virus come to Nevada? The NSPHL will deliver the answers.

And when Nevada is hit by a natural disaster or disease outbreak, the NSPHL will shift into emergency response mode, working long hours, often under difficult conditions, to handle a surge in testing while also maintaining regular laboratory services. After all, newborns won't wait to be born, even during wildfire season.

MONITOR | TEST | EVALUATE | IDENTIFY | INVESTIGATE | COLLABORATE

Over the last 20 years, Nevada's population more than doubled. During this time, the NSPHL has grown grants and contracts by more than $2.5M and its skilled workforce by 16%. 


SERVING A GROWING POPULATION

Nevada's population in millions, according to the U.S. Census data

Nevada Polulation Growth Graph

FINANCIAL HEALTH: DIVERSITY AND GROWTH

Financial Health of the Lab: FY 1998 Budget: $2,124,787 - vs FY 2018 Budget: $7,558,821

State funding per 1,000 Nevada residents: $644 in 1998 and $564 in 2018

AN UNMATCHED RETURN ON INVESTMENT

Working at the federal, state and local level, the NSPHL is a unique institution that monitors and detects health threats ranging from Tuberculosis to chemical contaminants, genetic disorders in newborns and terrorist agents. Equipped with sophisticated instrumentation and staffed by highly trained scientists, the NSPHL delivers services that are unavailable or cost-prohibitive elsewhere.

Partners in Public Health

The NSPHL protects, maintains and improves the health of Nevada's citizens and visitors through partnerships with the Center for Disease Control, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, state and federal agencies, hospitals, state and county health districts/departments throughout Nevada and future collaboration with the UNLV School of Medicine.