The Clarion-Ledger, 12/5/8

Mississippi officials are pinning their hopes on legislation that would ensure the state will continue to have a public health lab to process hundreds of thousands of specimens every year.

“The health lab is important to water systems, to restaurants, to epidemiological analysis,” said state Sen. Alan Nunnelee, who oversaw more than 30 hours of hearings on the state Department of Health in 2006. “The health lab affects every single Mississippian. We need to make sure it has the necessary tools and resources to operate effectively.”

Meanwhile, health officials are taking bids to construct a $25 million lab to replace the antiquated lab. Officials hope to break ground in February, said acting lab director Dr. Patrick Kyle.

“Our target date to move in is October 2010,” he said.