Year at a Glance

Alison Gilchrist, a fifth-grade teacher at St. Cecelia Elementary School in Ames with a passion for science, works in the Ankeny laboratory during her Real World Externship.

Twelve nationally recognized health and environmental experts gather on Sept. 28 in Coralville for the inaugural meeting of the State Hygienic Laboratory's Board of External Advisors.

Months before Election Day, the staff in Environmental Health rigorously tested the food being served at the Democratic and Republican national conventions for chemical, microbiological and radiological contaminants as part of the national Food Emergency Response Network team.

A small group from the Missouri State Public Health Laboratory spends two days at the Hygienic Laboratory in Coralville to learn about OpenELIS. The unique system was built on an Open Source platform that is free to all users and is referred to as an enterprise laboratory information system, or ELIS.

The Hygienic Lab introduces Sandra Daack-Hirsch, Ph.D., of the UI College of Nursing as its Environmental and Public Health Ambassador. Daack-Hirsch accepted the honorary position to help raise awareness of newborn and maternal screening.

CDC reports that more cases of West Nile virus have been reported in 2012 than in any year since the virus was first detected in the United States in 1999. As of Aug. 21, 2012, 47 states reported a total of 1,118 cases of the virus. In Iowa, five cases have been confirmed.

A total of 16 individuals infected with the same strain of Salmonella Typhimurium - including one from Iowa - have been reported in five states: Arizona (1), Illinois (2), Iowa (1), Michigan (9), and Wisconsin (3).

The safety of milk sold in developing nations, water quality in West Lake Okoboji, and grass as an alternative fuel source are projects by three Iowa students who are recipients of the 2013 State Hygienic Laboratory's Student Mentorship award.

The World Health Organization reports that, as of May 8, a novel strain of avian influenza A (H7N9) virus has killed 32 of the 131 people who were sickened by the new strain. All but one of the confirmed cases occurred in China. Taiwan reported one case of H7N9 on April 24.

From a routine ova and parasite iodine exam on June 25, parasitologist Mike Last finds the first case of a Cyclospora outbreak that would go on to sicken hundreds of people in 24 states. Previously, there were only 10 cases confirmed in Iowa within the last 20 years.

Thunderstorms that began on April 17 dump more than 8 inches of rain within 28 hours in parts of eastern Iowa causing flash floods, road closures and concerns about potential health risks associated with private wells that were covered with floodwaters.

The Hygienic Laboratory announces that it is the first state environmental public health laboratory that has achieved approved status to test water for all 28 chemical contaminants on the Environmental Protection Agency's list known as the unregulated contaminant monitoring regulation 3 (UCMR3).