PUBLIC HEALTH LABORATORY SERVICES
920 Grand Ave (at 4th Street)
San Rafael, CA 94901
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm
Changes to Marin County Public Health Laboratory
Proposed Regionalized Public Health Laboratory Services
The Marin County Department of Health and Human Services is evaluating whether Marin County should participate in a regionalized public health laboratory service. The department is seeking comment from the public, community practitioners, state associations, employees, neighboring counties and laboratory professionals as one step in the deliberations.
The Public Health Laboratory provides testing for clients of all County HHS
programs, detention facilities, general public, and private medical doctors. It is a reference lab for the local hospitals. Analyses include testing for rabies, communicable disease outbreaks, and screening of agents of bioterrorism.
The Laboratory coordinates with Environmental Health Services for environmental testing and food-borne outbreaks. The scope of laboratory services includes tick identification and detection of the agent of lyme’s disease, bacteriology,
mycobacteriology, mycology, parasitology, virology, serology, water, food microbiology, urinalysis, darkfield
microscopy, pregnancy tests, and sexually transmitted diseases.
State of the art molecular technology, PCR, Real time Polymerase Chain
Reaction Reaction is used to detect flu virus, norovirus, herpes virus, and other
respiratory viruses. Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are analyzed by nucleic acid
Tick identification, water microbiology testing, and pregnancy testing may be requested by the client. All other laboratory tests must be ordered by a medical provider. Medi-Cal, MediCare, CHDP, some private insurance,
and fee for service accepted.
Ticks are tested for the presence of the microorganism that causes Lyme Disease, Borrelia burgdorferi. Ticks are also identified, if possible, to genus and species level. Ideally, in order to perform the test, ticks should be kept intact and moist. A tick cannot be tested that is dried out or missing critical body parts. Once the tick has been removed, it should be placed in a clean container (a zip lock bag is fine) with a water moistened paper towel or cotton ball and sealed completely. The container should be brought to the Public Health Laboratory at 920 Grand Ave between the hours of 8am and 4:30pm, M-F. The downloadable Tick Identification Form can be filled out and brought to the Laboratory (or the form can be obtained and completed at the Laboratory).
For after-hours laboratory emergencies, please phone the County of Marin Communications Center at: (415) 473-9464
To report an animal bite, phone the Marin Humane Society at: