ROCHESTER, Minn.—Two laboratories within the Mayo Clinic Division of Clinical Microbiology have joined efforts and launched a new service line dedicated to advancing the research and testing of vector-borne diseases. The new area, called Vector-Borne Diseases Laboratory Services, will be directed by Bobbi Pritt, M.D., Director of the Clinical Parasitology Laboratory, and Elitza Theel, Ph.D., Director of the Infectious Diseases Serology Laboratory.
Before the creation of the Vector-Borne Diseases Laboratory Services, diagnostic testing for vector-borne diseases was performed across the Clinical Parasitology and Infectious Diseases Serology Laboratories. “Serologic and molecular tests are commonly ordered together for the evaluation of vector-borne diseases, and the optimal test may vary with the patient’s clinical presentation and time from onset of symptoms,” says Dr. Pritt. By more efficiently integrating these two practices, MML hopes to offer improved consultative services to clients and research partners.
Discovery Prompts Development of New Service Line
Earlier this year, Mayo Clinic announced that its researchers, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and health officials from Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin, had discovered a new bacterial species (Borrelia mayonii) that causes Lyme disease in humans. This discovery unveiled a need to create a collaborative service line within the Division of Clinical Microbiology, dedicated to vector-borne disease diagnosis and research.
“One way the new service line is focusing on research is through the creation of a specimen biobank,” says Dr. Theel. “The biobank will house unique specimens, some of which will be clinically characterized, to be used for assay validation and future test development.” The laboratory service will also focus heavily on creating recommended testing algorithms for evaluation of patients with suspected vector-borne diseases.
Mosquito-Borne Diseases Current Focus
Currently, staff members are working on the evaluation of, and test development for, mosquito-borne diseases, including chikungunya, Zika, and dengue viruses. A full list of microbiology and infectious disease tests being performed in Mayo’s Vector-Borne Diseases Laboratory Services can be found on MayoMedicalLaboratories.com.
View recent Vector-Borne Diseases resources.