Although some testing for foodborne illness may be associated with some of the other groupings, NICLTS data support the observation that most food-related illness is empirically treated by either the patient or physician and is not confirmed by laboratory testing.
The NICLTS data support these observations by showing the details of method and specimen types used for the identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (data not shown).
The NICLTS provides a snapshot of 1996 laboratory testing volumes and helps to place a laboratory reporting system in perspective.
The NICLTS was designed to quantify the availability of laboratory testing as defined by analytes and methods by DHHS region.
Before conducting the NICLTS study, we did not believe it possible to obtain an accurate count of laboratory testing in even one site, let alone a large diverse sample of laboratories.
The principal goal of NICLTS was not to estimate laboratory-testing volume, but to identify where and what testing was performed in 1996.
Figure 1 shows the distribution of estimated total testing volume by NICLTS laboratory group.
These are some of the policy-related questions that NICLTS data reveal.
Blood unit testing is conducted in a limited number of highly specialized laboratories, and our selection criteria for this initial version of NICLTS did not adequately sample these laboratories.