LABORATORY

Our Mission
The Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services (HCS) Laboratory ensures the health, safety, and well being of Kalamazoo County citizens by performing clinical and environmental testing to support county, state and federal public health programs. These services are also extended to county health departments, private clinics, and citizens in a ten-county region in Southwest Michigan (Region 3).

How We’re Funded
Laboratory services are funded through grants received from state and federal government, fees collected for services, and the County general fund.

Accomplishments
The lab is certified and/or accredited by MDCH, MDEQ, CLIA and the CDC.

  • The Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Regional Laboratory provides testing and phlebotomy for Kalamazoo county programs and clinics. These include the STD Clinic, HIV/AIDS Counseling-Testing, Communicable Disease, Environmental Health, Juvenile Home, and the County Jail. For the majority of 2011, the lab also performed clinical and environmental testing for ten county health departments, other STD and Family Planning Clinics, and three Planned Parenthood Organizations in Region 3. Tests performed included analysis for Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, parasitic infections, water quality testing and tests that monitor health status. Through the advantage of the laboratory test result, programs can provide early treatment, investigation, education, control, and prevention of disease.


  • The Laboratory processes samples to be sent to the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) for testing. Additional clinical testing performed at the state public health laboratory (MDCH) includes identification of unknown clinical bacterial isolates, viral identification (e.g., HIV, West Nile, Hepatitis), identification of unknown clinical fungal isolates, parisitology, serology, and mycrobacterial identification.


  • In 2011, the Kalamazoo County Regional Laboratory tested public and private well, pool, and surface water samples for health departments, private entities (e.g. well drillers), and citizens throughout Region 3. Private and public well water samples were tested to assure safe and appropriate levels of inorganic chemicals. The inorganic chemistry testing provided information regarding the level of nitrate, nitrite, iron, hardness, sulfate, fluoride, sodium, and chloride from water samples. Surface water samples were submitted from many local and regional lakes, streams and creeks. Samples collected by KCHCS Environmental Health from Kalamazoo County bathing beaches are tested weekly between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Regional Environmental Health staff collect and submit samples from Lake Michigan public bathing beaches in two lakeshore counties.


  • The Kalamazoo County Regional Laboratory assisted public health disease investigation teams from all counties in Region 3, and throughout the state, with the investigation of outbreaks – including outbreaks that are suspected to be food borne – by performing microbiological and viral testing. Both food and enteric samples were tested to rule out norvirus, E. coli 0157, Salmonella spp., Shigella spp., and Campylobacter spp. The laboratory also assisted with the MDCH Bureau of Laboratories in investigating unusual clinical findings, processed clinical specimens for testing at MDCH, and assisted in the recovery and isolation of pathogens for submission to MDCH during endemic, epidemic, and, if need be, pandemic illnesses

By the Numbers

  • The Kalamazoo County Regional Laboratory provided approximately 45,000 test results in 2011.

  • Approximately 48% of all testing was performed for clinical purposes, the majority of which were for CT/GC.

  • Fifty two percent (52%) of the testing performed was for environmental purposes: surface waters, pools, wells, etc.

  • Nearly 10,000 clinical specimens were tested in 2011 for Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Trichomonas and
    Norovirus.

  • In 2011, the laboratory processed and tested over 4,500 pool samples, 800 surface waters (beaches, streams, creeks, etc) and approximately 4,000 well samples.