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University of Iowa News Release


May 6, 2009

Hygienic Laboratory among first to confirm H1N1 outside of CDC

The University Hygienic Laboratory on Wednesday successfully completed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) verification process to conduct confirmatory testing for influenza A H1N1 (swine-like flu). The Hygienic Laboratory is one of the first state public health laboratories to conduct confirmatory testing for this new strain of the H1N1 virus.

"The Hygienic Laboratory staff worked swiftly throughout this outbreak to process all H1N1 tests, while at the same time completing the verification process required to conduct confirmatory testing in Iowa rather than sending specimens to CDC," said Hygienic Laboratory Director Christopher Atchison.

Initially testing for the new strain of H1N1 was conducted at the Hygienic Laboratory and then sent on to CDC for confirmation. The CDC performed all confirmatory testing for all state public health laboratories until it provided kits that allowed these laboratories to conduct their own confirmatory testing.

"All of the Hygienic Laboratory staff members realized the importance of this testing to the people of Iowa and collaborated in order to have it available as soon as possible," said Lucy DesJardin, Ph.D., program manager for molecular research and development. "This testing will provide faster results to our partners at the Iowa Department of Public Health and allow them to accurately track the H1N1 'swine-like' in Iowa, and implement public health interventions."

The laboratory, based in Coralville, has received more than 600 specimens to test for H1N1 since April 27. Of those tests, 35 were identified as probable positives for H1N1.

STORY SOURCE: University Hygienic Laboratory, 102 Research Park, H101 OH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-5002

MEDIA CONTACT: Pat Blake, 319-335-4177,