labApril 24 through 30 is National Laboratory Professionals Week, a time for us to take a moment to thank our hard-working laboratory staff.

This week we will celebrate the vital contributions laboratory professionals make to protect public health and safety.

Our Public Health Lab is a leader in Arizona and the United States. In March our lab was authorized by the CDC to begin testing for Zika virus. On the same day our lab was authorized by CDC, we were able to detect the first travel-associated case of Zika virus in an individual with a travel history to a Zika affected country. Our lab was one of the first three in the country to be authorized by CDC to test for Zika virus.

This past February the Association of Public Health Laboratories, a national organization dedicated to strengthening laboratory systems serving the public’s health in the United States and globally, requested our lab staff to present its biosafety outreach program in a national webinar. Last June our lab was selected as a Level 1 Laboratory in the USDA’s Food Emergency Response Network, which enhances the nation’s ability to detect microbiological, radiological and chemical threat agents and to improve laboratory capacity for food defense assignments and outbreak responses.

Thanks to the lab staff who receive the samples, ensure the lab information management systems are functioning, provide critical testing results to physicians, and who diligently work to meet the needs and expectations of the customers. Whether it is at our State Public Health Lab or a partner laboratory, please take a moment this week to thank a laboratorian.