Bacteriology Laboratory

On August 3, 2016 New York State Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard A. Zucker announced the Wadsworth Center has been awarded $1.8 million to serve as one of seven labs in the nation designated as an Antimicrobial Resistance (AR) Regional Laboratory. These laboratories, strategically placed across the country, will have specialized capabilities allowing rapid detection and identification of emerging antibiotic resistant threats.

"New York is a national leader in addressing the threat of antimicrobial resistance," Dr. Zucker said. "And the Wadsworth Center is uniquely qualified to be a key resource in our response to this public health concern."

The grant, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases program, comes just one week after NYSDOH announced the establishment of a multidisciplinary New York State Antimicrobial Resistance Prevention and Control Task Force (NYS-ARTF), whose mission is to improve coordination and collaboration of antimicrobial resistance initiatives in New York State.

The 2016 AR Regional lab efforts will be coordinated locally by state health departments in Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. CDC's AR Lab Network closes the gap between hospital capabilities and data needed to combat AR with a network of state and regional labs fully equipped to detect resistance. The network laboratories will boost local capacity and technology to detect, prevent and support response to AR threats, and create new innovations to combat AR.

At Wadsworth Center, the new laboratory grant will support additional staff, supplies and equipment to enhance Wadsworth Center's capabilities and capacity as well as allow it to serve an eight-state region (ME, NH, VT, RI, MA, CT, NJ, NY). Testing services include analysis of AR for seven threats deemed as urgent or serious in the CDC Antibiotic Resistance threat report. These include drug-resistant bacteria such as Clostridium difficile, vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE). Wadsworth will work closely with CDC on special projects designed to address specific antimicrobial resistance threats. The AR Network is expected to provide faster outbreak detection and response, better tracking of AR, real-time actionable data to prevent and combat future AR threats, and improve the utilization of gold standard and cutting-edge technologies at the local level. An additional component awarded to Wadsworth Center (as one of only four in the country) includes testing for antibiotic resistance of certain fungal pathogens such as fluconazole-resistant Candida.

The Wadsworth Center provides laboratory testing services to NYS residents either directly through provider-requested testing or through reference testing services for specimens forwarded by NYS laboratories. Additionally, its work protects NYS citizens from diseases of public health importance through laboratory analysis of disease outbreak specimens from patients and the environment.

As New York State's public health laboratory, the Wadsworth Center currently serves as a CDC-supported regional reference laboratory for influenza, tuberculosis, antiviral resistance and vaccine-preventable diseases testing.

The latest CDC funding will dramatically expand existing capabilities to track infections in healthcare settings, protect patients through targeted prevention, and increase coordination across medical care, throughout the US.

Related links:

NYS DOH Press Release

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