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New State Health Lab Nearly Complete

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 12 Nov 2010 01:50pm | comments
State Public Health Lab in Jackson

After years of planning and construction, Mississippi's multi-million dollar public health lab is about to open. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports on its progress and what it means for you.

The 25-million dollar glass and brick laboratory at the State Health Department in Jackson has been under construction for two years.

Laboratory director Daphne Ware says their current lab is 50-years old, contaminated with asbestos and not designed to handle modern equipment.

“Right now we have received a lot of grant money to expand some of our testing capacity. So we have been able to buy new equipment but haven't been able to plug it into the electrical system. Basically ran out of plugs,” Ware said.

Doctors had to spread out into other buildings to find more room.

Those cramped quarters aren't just annoying, they slow down the lab's ability to respond to emergencies like last year's H1N1 flu pandemic.

The state health lab regularly monitors food and milk products and screens for multiple health concerns.

“The state public health laboratory is the state that performs rabies testing. As well as we perform testing on over 2-thousand public water supply system throughout the area making sure the drinking water is safe,” Ware said.

County health departments depend on the lab to test for deadly diseases tuberculosis and other highly contagious diseases.

The lab is expected to open this spring.

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State Public Health Lab in Jackson


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