Testing flu specimens

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services opened its doors to the media today. It monitors the prevalence of the H1-N1 virus, also known as swine flu, across the state.

"Our role is to track the progress of influenza in Virginia and identify which virus it is," said Dr. Jim Pearson.

When a person is suspected of having swine flu, a nasal swab is usually done. Those samples will likely end up at this lab where it's processed, analyzed, and evaluated. The lab conducts more than 7 million tests yearly. So far the lab has received nearly a thousand flu samples since April, resulting in 11,000 tests.

"All of the influenza samples we're seeing that are positive, are the swine flu," said Pearson.

Six people have died from the swine flu virus in Virginia.

"It's in large numbers right now. It went down a bit, now its back up. Kids are back in school we're seeing a lot of swine flu," he said.

The lab works with the Health Department and the CDC.

"They can study those organisms to see if they've changed, have they mutated in some way, have they developed resistance to certain anti-virals," said Dr. Thomas York.

The goal in part, is to use the information for prevention programs to help keep you and your family safe and healthy.

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