Wisconsin Water Science Center

Laboratory for Infectious Disease and the Environment (LIDE)

The Laboratory for Infectious Disease and the Environment (LIDE) performs research on the occurrence, fate and transport, and health effects of human and agricultural zoonotic pathogens in the environment. LIDE collaborates with public agencies and academic researchers to inform decision-makers and advance scientific knowledge.

Work with us

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Image of the pathogen icon from the LIDE logo
March 18, 2016

The Laboratory for Infectious Disease and the Environment (LIDE) is an interagency collaborative effort between the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service. As a research laboratory, LIDE’s roles in research-based collaborations range from developing research questions and experimental designs to analyzing samples and interpreting data.

Photo of glass-wool filters used to concentrate waterborne virus material
March 17, 2016

Molecular and culture analysis methods are paired with sampling capabilities across environmental matrices to address a wide range of questions and problems. LIDE collects and analyzes samples from groundwater, surface water, runoff, wastewater, sediments, soil, manure, compost, digestate, and air.

Photo of fluorescence amplification curves from a quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) analysis
March 16, 2016

Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) identifies and quantifies microorganisms in environmental samples by detecting a unique target sequence of nucleic acid (DNA or RNA).

Figure of example QMRA dose-response curves for three pathogens
March 15, 2016

Quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) is a tool for estimating human health risks from exposure to pathogens via food, water, air, and other environmental routes.

Photo showing traveling-gun manure irrigation system at a Wisconsin farm
March 14, 2016

Manure irrigation, which is the application of liquid animal manure by irrigation, is increasing. However, the risk of airborne pathogen transmission from manure to humans during spray irrigation is not well-understood. To determine how pathogens can spread using manure irrigation, LIDE measured air concentrations and risk of illness due to exposure to pathogens in the irrigation spray.

Map showing dye detections in domestic wells in Door County, Wis.
March 13, 2016

Patrons and employees of a new restaurant were affected by acute gastroenteritis (vomiting and diarrhea); initial tests were positive for fecal contamination. Investigators utilized a unique combination of epidemiological, microbial, and hydrogeological evidence that identified a new septic system as the source of the contamination.

Image of the pathogen icon from the LIDE logo
March 12, 2016

Little is known about the influence of aquatic invertebrates on the persistence and infectivity of avian influenza virus (AI) in aquatic environments. LIDE conducted laboratory experiments to investigate the ability of an aquatic filter-feeding invertebrate (eaten in large quantities by some ducks) to accumulate and potentially transmit infective virus to waterfowl from AI-contaminated water.

Image of the pathogen icon from the LIDE logo
March 11, 2016

In Minnesota, 74% of the State’s population relies on groundwater to supply their drinking water. Outbreaks of waterborne viral illness have been associated with groundwater, and surveys show that 30 percent of drinking water wells may be contaminated. LIDE is helping the State determine the occurrence of groundwater-borne viruses and the risk of illness in Minnesota groundwater.

Illustration showing potential sources of pathogen contamination for Lake Michigan beaches
March 10, 2016

The goals of this study were to quantify pathogen concentrations in water at three Lake Michigan beaches, identify environmental factors that influence pathogen occurrence and variability, and to estimate health risks for recreational swimmers.