The Arbovirus laboratory works in conjunction with the Bureau of Communicable Disease Control (BCDC) to provide arbovirus surveillance for New York State. Adult mosquitoes are collected and pooled by species throughout the transmission season (late spring-early fall) from counties across NYS and mosquito pools are sent to the laboratory for high-throughput arbovirus testing. The primary agents tested for are West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis virus. Additional cell culture and multiplex qRT-PCR assays are utilized to identify other endemic and emerging arboviruses. Results are utilized by county health departments to inform public health actions.
In 2007, the Arbovirus Laboratory and BCDC initiated tick surveillance for Powassan virus (deer tick virus) to complement their Lyme disease and other tick-borne infection activities. Ticks are collected by personnel from BCDC from across NYS and submitted to the Arbovirus Laboratory for testing by cell culture and molecular methodologies to provide this comprehensive service.
Mammals suspected of arbovirus infection are submitted through the county health department for testing. All mammals need to be submitted to the NYS Rabies Laboratory first, before being sent to the Arbovirus Laboratory. Please see the submission guidelines for rabies samples at the Rabies Laboratory website.
If requested by the property owner and the Arbovirus Laboratory deems arbovirus infection likely, testing is performed on dead birds. Please contact 518-485-6864 before submitting any birds to the laboratory for testing.
The Arbovirus laboratory provides serological testing to determine human exposure to arboviruses. Following positive screening assays completed at the Diagnostic Immunology Laboratory, samples are forwarded to the Arbovirus Laboratory for confirmatory testing by the Plaque Reduction Neutralization Test. For further information of clinical testing for viral infections available at the Wadsworth Center please visit the website for the Virology Laboratory.
Table 1. Mosquito-borne viruses identified by the Arbovirus Laboratory 2003-2016.
Surveillance: Virologic Testing of Specimens