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The NAHLN Quarterly |April 2010| 
Volume 2, No. 1


Founding Principles and Features of the NAHLN 


  • Standardized, rapid diagnostic techniques
  • Trained personnel, modern equipment
  • Quality standards, proficiency testing
  • Secure communication, alert reporting system
  • Adequate facility biosafety/biosecurity levels
  • Scenario testing
  • Implemented quality management system

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In This Issue

A Note from the Coordinator
Upcoming Events  
NAHLN Surveillance Update
NAHLN Procedure Manual References
NVSL-DVL Update on SIV 
QA Update 
IT Update
New Laboratory Director Feature
FADDL Validation Studies
FMD Negative Cohort Study
Getting to Know Us 
FMD Table-Top Exercises 
NAHLN Facts 

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A Note from the Coordinator

Over the past several years we have worked together to develop and implement a Train the Trainer Program that was used on an intra-laboratory basis to increase the number of analysts trained to conduct testing for AI, END, CSF and FMD.  We expanded the program to include inter-laboratory activities and increased the number of NAHLN laboratories approved to conduct the testing for AI (15 to 54) and END (15-52), as well as CSF and FMD (12 to 37).  A summary of this information can be seen in the table below.  Successful implementation of the program has been a significant step for the Network and its mission of ensuring sufficient diagnostic capability and capacity to address an animal health emergency.  

2008 Symposium

We are in the process of formalizing our training process and used a recent course at the NAHLN Laboratory in Kissimmee, Florida to test portions of the system.  Representatives from South Carolina, Kentucky, Florida, and Arkansas laboratories participated in lectures and hands on laboratory training provided by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories' Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (NVSL-FADDL), Proficiency and Validation Services Section (PVSS).  Our goal is to have a program that will train as well as access trainers and to establish  an ongoing trainer recertification program.  We plan to have modules that can be used to provide training that will be made available to NAHLN Laboratory personnel  on a secure site.  If you are interested in helping us formalize our training processes and determine what training modules should be developed, please contact me at barbara.m.martin@aphis.usda.gov.
Our training is not limited to the technical aspects of conducting diagnostic assays.  We have trained representatives on the NAHLN information technology (IT) system and electronic test results messaging.  We've held symposia to provide information on emergency preparedness, assay validation, surveillance activities, and the NAHLN Program.  
We recognize that additional training is needed to increase the understanding of quality management systems and the accreditation process.  The NAHLN Program Staff is working with the AAVLD Accreditation Committee to develop and deliver a program that will provide participants with a better understanding of quality management systems.  The training and all reference materials will be offered at no cost to participants.  There's a brief overview of the training in the QA update.  More information will be provided to Laboratory Directors in the next several weeks.  We will also be investigating options for partnering with other interested Federal agencies as well as making our training materials available through webcasts and a secure website. 
You'll notice a couple of changes in this issue of the newsletter. 
  • We've expanded our surveillance updates to include the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. 
  • We've listed the surveillance procedure manuals with the date of the most recent revision and if the manual is posted, the web address.

We will be conducting an assessment of our newsletter in the next few months.  Regular subscribers will have the opportunity to provide feedback and suggestions for future features.  Please participate so that we can continue to provide you with information you need.

 Martin sig line

Barbara M. Martin
NAHLN Coordinator
National Veterinary Services Laboratories 
Upcoming Events
  • April 20-22, 2010:  ASFV and RPV real-time PCR training at NVSL/FADDL, Plum Island, New York 
  • April 27-29, 2010:  ASFV and RPV real-time PCR training at NVSL/FADDL, Plum Island, New York 
  • April 27-28, 2010:  NVSL TSE IHC Training, Ames, Iowa
  • May 11-15, 2010:  Fifth International Conference on Antimicrobial Agents in Veterinary Medicine (AAVM), Tel Aviv, Israel
  • September 8-9, 2010:  First Symposium for the International Society for Companion Animal, Toulouse, France
  • September 15-17, 2010:  First Congress of the European Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (EAVLD),  Lelystad, the Netherlands 
  • November 11-17, 2010:  53rd Annual AAVLD/USAHA Meeting, Minneapolis, Minnesota
NAHLN Surveillance Update
Wild Bird Avian Influenza (AI) Surveillance.  Thirty-six (36) approved NAHLN laboratories are assisting the wild bird surveillance efforts for APHIS' Wildlife Services (WS).  The target number of 44,000 samples for the biological year, which started on April 1, 2009 and ended March 31, 2010, has been reached and exceeded.  Data regarding matrix, H5, and H7 detections will be available in the WS annual report.  NVSL's Diagnostic Virology Laboratory conducts confirmatory testing.
WS AI Surveillance Update - Vol 2, No. 1 

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Surveillance.  Since June 2004, seven (7) NAHLN laboratories have participated in enhanced BSE surveillance testing.  As of August 2009, nearly 890,000 tests have been conducted.  The National Veterinary Services Laboratories' (NVSL) Pathobiology Laboratory in Ames, Iowa performs confirmatory testing. 


The table below shows sample testing performed by month for BSE by NAHLN laboratories.  The total number of samples tested for BSE by NAHLN laboratories from January 1, 2009 through January 31, 2010 was 49,629.

BSE Surveillance-vol.2, No.1 
Classical Swine Fever (CSF) Surveillance.  In January 2006, USDA implemented phase one of a surveillance plan developed by the National Surveillance Unit for CSF in states (and Puerto Rico) with a high risk for introduction of CSF.  There are currently thirty-six (36) NAHLN laboratories participating in CSF surveillance testing.  The NVSL's Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (FADDL) located at Plum Island, New York, performs confirmatory testing.  Over 28,700 samples have been tested since the inception of the program.
From January 1, 2009 through February 28, 2010, 4,587 veterinary diagnostic laboratory (VDL) specimens and 2,781 slaughter specimens have been tested for CSF by NAHLN laboratories.  The tables below compare the actual number (cumulative by month) of VDL and slaughter samples tested to the projected number (cumulative by month) of samples for CSF surveillance.
CSF VDL Specimen Surveillance Vol.2, No.1
CSF Slaughter Volume 2, No. 1 
*The actual testing data was taken from the "NAHLN Specimen Test Summary" report in the Veterinary Services Laboratory Submissions database.
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Surveillance.  In September 2001, the Secretary of Agriculture released Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) emergency funds allowing the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to begin implementation of a program to eradicate CWD among farmed elk populations.  The program has since been amended to include susceptible deer species as well.  The program involves enhanced surveillance to detect CWD-positive herds and to respond to CWD-positive herds and trace animals.  There are currently 24 NAHLN Laboratories approved for CWD surveillance testing. 

The table below shows the number of animals tested for CWD in fiscal year 2009 (October 1, 2008 to September 30, 2009). 

 CWD Volume 2, No. 1


Scrapie Surveillance.  The National Scrapie Eradication Program is a USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Services (VS) initiative with the objective of eradicating scrapie in U.S. sheep and goat populations.  Efforts to eradicate scrapie have been ongoing since 1953, with an accelerated scrapie eradication program initiated in 2001.  Surveillance for the program continues to be conducted primarily through the Regulatory Scrapie Slaughter Surveillance (RSSS) component.  Other surveillance activities include trace investigations of infected and exposed animals, clinical suspect animals submitted to veterinary diagnostic laboratories and rabies-suspect animals that test negative for rabies, and voluntary on-farm surveillance testing. 
There are currently 24 NAHLN Laboratories approved for scrapie surveillance testing. 

The table below shows the number of animals tested for scrapie in fiscal year 2009 (October 1, 2008 to September 30, 2009). 

 Scrapie Volume 2, No. 1
Swine Influenza Virus (SIV) Surveillance.  Veterinary Services (VS) has developed and implemented a surveillance plan for swine influenza virus (SIV), including the pandemic H1N1 2009 virus (pH1N1), in swine.  The plan is based on the most current information available on this novel influenza virus strain.  Surveillance is aimed to identify the pH1N1 strain as well as other non-typical strains of SIV in swine.

The immediate goals of the surveillance program were to:  (1) determine if the pH1N1 virus strain currently exists in U.S. swine; (2) determine the distribution, if the pH1N1 strain is present, to inform further policy decisions; (3) detect other novel influenza virus strains in swine in a timely manner; and (4) determine genetic characteristics of novel viruses necessary for vaccine and diagnostics development.
Thirty-six NAHLN Laboratories are participating in SIV surveillance activities.
The table below shows the number of samples tested since the SIV Surveillance began in May of 2009.  From May 22, 2009 through March 12, 2010, 549 swine samples were tested for SIV.
 SIV Surveillance - Vol.2, No. 1
 The surveillance information in this article has been provided by USDA APHIS':
National Surveillance Unit
Veterinary Services (VS), National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL)/NAHLN
VS, National Center for Animal Health Programs, Swine Health Program Staff
Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Disease Program
NAHLN Procedure Manual References
Below you will find the various NAHLN Procedure Manuals, the date of the latest version, and either a weblink or contact where they are available: 
USDA/APHIS/Wildlife Services, Procedures Manual for Avian Influenza Surveillance, latest version April 2010, Contact:  Seth Swafford at seth.swafford@aphis.usda.gov.
Implementation Plan for HPAI Surveillance in Wild Migratory Birds in the United States
, latest version April 2010, Contact:  Seth Swafford at seth.swafford@aphis.usda.gov. 
USDA/APHIS/Wildlife Services, Instructions for NAHLN Laboratories Testing Wild Bird Samples,
latest version April 2010, Contact:  Seth Swafford at seth.swafford@aphis.usda.gov.

Classical Swine Fever Surveillance Procedure Manual
, latest version dated April 1, 2007
Pseudorabies Surveillance Procedure Manual, Version 1.2
, latest version dated April 2010


Influenza Surveillance in Swine Procedures Manual, latest version dated December 18, 2009

Procedure Manual for Vesicular Stomatitis Viruses
(VSV), latest version dated January 2008
NVSL-DVL Update on SIV

Since the Swine Influenza Surveillance Program began in May 2009, the National Veterinary Services Laboratories' (NVSL) Diagnostic Virology Laboratory (DVL) has received 34 submissions representing 134 samples.  Two submissions representing 48 samples were from a Centers for Disease Control -funded field research project involving fair pigs.  Of the remaining 32 submissions, 31 resulted from referrals by NAHLN Laboratories or other veterinary avenues, and one resulted from a direct submission by a public health laboratory. 


Excluding the research samples, the NVSL have received 74 pig, five ferret, one cheetah, and six cat samples, representing 14 states.  Pandemic H1N1 was identified in the ferrets, cats, and cheetah.  Pandemic H1N1 was identified in pigs as well as endemic H1N1 (three cases), H1N2 (two cases), and H3N2 (one case).


Article submitted by Sabrina Swenson, Head, Bovine, Porcine, and Aquaculture Viruses Section, USDA, APHIS, VS, NVSL, Diagnostic Virology Laboratory, Ames, IA

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Quality Assurance (QA) Update
AAVLD Accreditation and Quality Committees Update
The AAVLD Accreditation Committee met in warm and sunny Las Vegas for their February meeting.  Beverly Byrum, Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, presided over the meeting as the newly appointed Chair.  The Committee approved two laboratories for accreditation, one that is new to the AAVLD Accreditation Program.  The Committee also reviewed several laboratory response reports and updates.  Site Visit teams for 2010 visits were finalized.  Six laboratories are scheduled for site visits this year.  For many laboratories this will be their second assessment since the new Requirements for an Accredited Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (Requirements) were in effect.  Opportunities to accredit non-English speaking international laboratories were discussed.  The Committee is in favor of working with such laboratories that will present interesting challenges for auditors. Parlez-vous
Franšais, anyone?  The AAVLD Accreditation Program has drawn attention from other national laboratory networks.  Currently the Committee is working with members of the USDA National Plant Diagnostic Network to develop an accreditation process using the AAVLD Accreditation system as a guide.
The Accreditation Committee recently reorganized their documents page on the AAVLD website.  Documents of interest can be found on the page entitled "Accreditation Files".  The Requirements for an Accredited Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory and the AAVLD Accreditation Application are now posted separately.  Quality guidance documents produced by the Accreditation Committee and other AAVLD Committees are also posted.  Presentations from the 2009 Accreditation Committee Symposium are available as well.  A policy for the review of quality-related documents posted on this page has been developed.  This policy will be shared with other AAVLD committees that seek to post quality documents on the AAVLD website.
Training is a frequent topic at Accreditation Committee meetings and this meeting was no exception.  The committee plans to work with NAHLN to develop a training program with a focus on training personnel from non-accredited and accredited laboratories.  The training may include topics such as quality system requirements, the accreditation process, document control, internal auditing, etc.  Planning is underway for developing training modules that can be accessed over a secure website.  Additional plans for training will be decided with the assistance of evaluations to determine whether the class should be repeated and/or new modules added.  The Accreditation Committee meets again in July 2010.
Article submitted by Patricia Lukens, Quality Systems Manager, Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, Washington State University, Pullman, WA
Information Technology (IT) Update
A critical aspect of the NAHLN is the effort to standardize data, improve data quality, and maximize the efficiency of data transfer via the IT infrastructure and data repository.  The NAHLN IT system has been developed with data messaging and standards to ensure that accurate and consistent diagnostic information is quickly and securely transmitted. 
Routine classical swine fever (CSF) test results have been electronically and securely submitted via a web-based system for over three years.  In August 2008, NAHLN Laboratories began transmitting test results through standardized electronic messaging.  There are currently 36 laboratories approved for CSF testing and 29 laboratories that are receiving surveillance samples.  Eleven of those are sending test results electronically. 
There are currently 54 NAHLN Laboratories that are approved for avian influenza testing.  Thirty-six of the avian influenza (AI) approved laboratories are participating in Wildlife Services (WS) Wild Bird AI Surveillance.  The production system for the WS Wild Bird AI Surveillance module was activated in June 2009.  At present, ten laboratories are messaging into the production system.  However, data problems with the AI wild bird reporting module have made it necessary to limit the number of NAHLN Laboratories messaging into the production system.  These issues will be addressed prior to allowing more laboratories to message.  Six laboratories have completed the steps necessary to electronically message into the production system; once the defects have been resolved, they will make any resultant adjustments and begin to message.  The defects have not impacted the ability for laboratories to send electronic test results into the test system.  
The graphs below show the percentage of results being electronically messaged for CSF and Wildlife Services Wild Bird AI Surveillance programs.  The remaining test results are being entered via the web-based Veterinary Services Laboratory Submissions database (CSF) or are entered into the system by WS personnel (AI). 
 WS AI Messaging, Vo. 2, No. 1
2008 Symposium
The status of the NAHLN avian influenza (AI) Wildlife Services' IT module was discussed on conference calls held in December 2009 and February 2010.  The purpose of these calls was to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD), the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL), and NVSL's National Animal Health Laboratory Network.  Representatives were from AAVLD and various Veterinary Services' staff including the Chief Information Officer, the National Animal Health Policy and Programs, the NVSL, and the NAHLN Program.
Priority and resources have been assigned and efforts are now underway to enhance the current NAHLN AI Wildlife Services' IT module; a projected completion date is yet to be determined.  It is important to reiterate to NAHLN Laboratories that they can acquire messaging capabilities through the test system and that no new laboratories will be added to the production system until issues have been resolved. 
Article submitted by Barbara Martin, NAHLN Coordinator, and Sarah Tomlinson, NAHLN Associate Coordinator, USDA/APHIS/VS/NVSL, NAHLN Program Staff, Ames, IA

Featuring a New Laboratory Director to the NAHLN

Hailu Kinde has been working in the California laboratory system, which later became the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System (CAHFS), since 1982.  He has been serving as the Interim Director of CAHFS since July of 2008.  CAHFS is one of NAHLN's core member laboratories.
2008 Symposium 
Hailu Kinde, Interim Laboratory Director
California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System
 School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis
Kinde is a native of Ethiopia, raised on a family farm that had a variety of animals including cattle, sheep, goats, donkeys, and chickens.  His interest in becoming a veterinarian emanated from his love for animals and, with the incidence of devastating diseases in his area, acquiring the ability to maintain their health. 
In 1968, Kinde earned his Diplomate of Animal Health degree at the Animal Health School in Debrezeit, Ethiopia.  After one year working as the provincial animal health professional and two years as a veterinary assistant at the U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit in Addis Ababa, he left for Thessaloniki, Greece where in 1978 he earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree at Aristotelian University.  In 1982, he earned his Masters in Preventive Veterinary Medicine (MPVM) degree at the University of California, Davis.  He is board-certified with the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists and the American College of Poultry Veterinarians.
One significant accomplishment in Kinde's career, which made a positive impact on CAHFS and on U.S. animal health, was his role as Laboratory Coordinator during the 2002-2003 exotic Newcastle disease (END) outbreaks in chickens in Southern California.  He diagnosed the very first case of END and as the Laboratory Coordinator, managed the daily activities of the laboratory while being the primary link to the END Task Force.
Kinde enjoys working as a diagnostician and his diagnostic creative activities have resulted in 65 publications in referred journals as well as multiple presentations and abstracts throughout his career.  He is a member of many organizations, including several AAVLD and USAHA committees such as the AAVLD Committee on Strategic Planning and the USAHA Committee on Foreign and Emerging Animal Diseases.  In Kinde's spare time he enjoys gardening and traveling.
When asked why NAHLN is important to him, he responded, "As a part of the Network, it is important for CAHFS to work closely with USDA in assay development and validation as well as training personnel for high throughput assays.  CAHFS values the partnership with USDA and the NAHLN in protecting animal agriculture from catastrophic emerging and exotic animal diseases".
As a core member NAHLN laboratory, CAHFS remains engaged in the mission of the Network and we thank you, Dr. Kinde, for your leadership!
Article submitted by Jill Brown, Program Analyst, USDA/APHIS/VS/NVSL, NAHLN Program Staff, Ames, IA
FADDL Validation Studies
The Proficiency and Validation Services Section (PVSS) at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories' Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (NVSL/FADDL) located in Plum Island, New York, is currently working on the validation of the real-time PCR assays for African swine fever virus (ASFV), rinderpest virus (RPV), lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV), and contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) detection. 
Laboratory bench work has been completed for the ASFV and RPV assays, and the upcoming negative cohort study this summer will complete the validation process for these tests. 
NVSL/FADDL will be hosting ASFV and RPV real-time PCR training prior to the negative cohort study.  The training will take place at the FADDL on April 20-22 and April 27-29, 2010.  For more information on this training, please contact Kate Schumann by e-mail at kate.r.schumann@aphis.usda.gov.
Validation of the LSDV and CBPP assays will be approached using latent class analysis (a statistical method for finding subtypes of related cases [latent classes] from multivariate categorical data).  This method is utilized in the absence of a gold standard diagnostic assay.  Bench work for the analytical and diagnostic validation of the LSDV and CBPP assays are expected to be completed this year, with the negative cohort to take place in the summer of 2011.
Article submitted by Kate Schumann, Microbiologist, USDA/APHIS/VS/NVSL, FADDL, Plum Island, NY
FMD Negative Cohort Study
In 2007, the Foot and Mouth Disease rRT PCR Dossier was reviewed by the NAHLN Methods Technical Working Group.  It was recommended that a negative cohort study be completed prior to use of the assay in a surveillance program.  As a result, a negative cohort study was developed that includes testing approximately 1000 samples per species from five geographically distinct areas.  It was determined that 1250 samples will be obtained from swine to ensure that a minimum of 1000 samples are tested; 1500 bovine samples will be obtained (divided between 3 beef and 3 dairy states); and 1500 small ruminant samples will be tested and identified as either sheep or goats.
In order to make the most efficient and effective use of resources, appropriate samples will also be used for upcoming negative cohort studies for African swine fever and rinderpest.
The selection process began with the top-producing states for each commodity group (see Table 1 below) coupled with evaluation of diagnostic submission numbers provided by the NAHLN Laboratories for 2007 and 2008 and their geographic distribution.  Further, only NAHLN Laboratories that have completed the NAHLN Laboratory Qualification Checklist and have a functional quality system were eligible to participate.  The process resulted in 12 states, geographically distributed throughout the United States; with reasonable laboratory sample submission numbers from each species (see Table 2).  Each state will be requested to test samples for its respective species.  We will be working with involved Laboratory Directors and State Animal Health Officials to discuss the purpose and implementation of the study.  Data generated will be reviewed by the NAHLN Methods Technical Working Group. 

Summary of Top States by Commodity - Vol. 2, No. 1

Table 2 summarizes the states with NAHLN Laboratories that have been asked to participate in the study.   

Table 2 

While the primary objective of the 2010 negative cohort studies is to validate the rRT-PCR tests for FMD, followed by ASF and rinderpest, the studies will accomplish these additional objectives:
  • Validate rRT PCR test for foot and mouth disease, African swine fever, and rinderpest viruses
  • Assess and improve laboratory procedures and processes for sample selection, testing, and result communication
  • Identify information technology needs
  • Assess and implement current notification/communication protocols for these foreign animal diseases
  • Recommend improvements for the overall NAHLN laboratory surveillance component of future surveillance systems involving these diseases in NAHLN Laboratories
Within the month of April, a specific timeline has been developed to organize informational calls with Veterinary Services Regional Staff and State Animal Health Officials.  Planned implementation of the FMD negative cohort study is May 2010. 
 Article submitted by Barbara Martin, Coordinator and Sarah Tomlinson, Associate Coordinator, USDA/APHIS/VS/NVSL, NAHLN Program Staff, Ames, IA and Fort Collins, CO
Getting to Know Us
 Sarah Tomlinson
Sarah Tomlinson
 NAHLN Associate Coordinator
The NAHLN is very pleased to introduce one of our newest staff members, Sarah Tomlinson.  In February of this year, she joined the NAHLN Program Staff as the Associate Coordinator.  Sarah comes to NAHLN from Veterinary Services (VS)' National Surveillance Unit (NSU), where she was the Assistant Director.
Sarah began her career with VS working with the National Animal Health Monitoring System on the 2002 Dairy Study.  She earned her Bachelor's degree in zoology from Arizona State, a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Colorado State University (CSU), and is nearly finished with her Master's degree in epidemiology from CSU, with plans to complete this year.  Sarah rounds out her resume with experience as a large animal veterinarian, veterinary technician, dairy research technician, and data analyst.
The first week of February, Sarah traveled to Iowa and spent time meeting the NAHLN staff.  This was an excellent opportunity to discuss current NAHLN projects and determine where her expertise will be most beneficial.  With Sarah's previous experience, she will be an invaluable resource for current and new surveillance projects as well as future activities.
In her spare time, Sarah enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, running, camping, and reading.
Sarah will remain located in Ft. Collins, Colorado.  This is advantageous as she will be in close contact with the VS' Office of the Chief Information Officer and Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health (CEAH), working closely with the National Surveillance Unit (NSU), and APHIS' Wildlife Services.  Sarah can be reached by phone at (970) 494-7152 or by e-mail at sarah.m.tomlinson@aphis.usda.gov.
Welcome to the NAHLN, Sarah!
Article submitted by Stephanie Hadsall, Administrative Support Assistant, USDA/APHIS/VS/NVSL, NAHLN Program Staff, Ames, IA
Opportunity to Participate in NAHLN FMD Table-top Exercises
The NAHLN program office, the National Agriculture Biosecurity Center (NABC) at Kansas State University, and CNA Corporation are working together to develop a series of exercises that will examine early, mid, and late-response activities regarding NAHLN laboratory activation, development of testing algorithms, and testing capacities for foot and mouth disease (FMD).  In May 2010, a policy-level exercise focusing on NAHLN involvement in a FMD outbreak will be held in Topeka, Kansas and will involve both the Kansas and Iowa State veterinary diagnostic laboratories.  The outcomes of the initial exercise will be extended to the State and Regional level for the series of follow-up table-top exercises (TTX) that will be delivered to other NAHLN laboratories and animal health representatives around the country.  
This exercise program will build on the highly-pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) scenario exercise program that was conducted with the NAHLN laboratories in 2008 and will provide an opportunity for further test integration of laboratory and field protocols and procedures.  It is expected that coordination during a FMD outbreak will be similar to a HPAI outbreak, but that there may be notable differences due to the potential involvement of multiple species and the resultant disease spread.  As with the HPAI exercise program, individual exercise reports and a summary report will be generated.
Objectives for the initial policy-level exercise include the following:
For Phase I (early response)
  • Practice the decision-making process for NAHLN activation
  • Identify testing algorithms to be used after a FMD outbreak has been confirmed
  • Develop plans for early surveillance and control priorities
For Phase II (mid-response)
  • Identify processes and procedures for laboratories to request reimbursement for providing assistance during a FMD outbreak
  • Define communications chains for reporting and integration of FMD surveillance and testing results
  • Examine testing capacity, taking into account the needs for ongoing outbreak and surveillance testing, law enforcement sampling, Select Agent Rule compliance, and third party sample submissions
For Phase III (late response/recovery)
  • Identify testing algorithms to be used to prove freedom if vaccination is used in the eradication strategy
  • Identify trigger points for the de-activation of NAHLN
  • Identify processes for communicating the status of NAHLN activation/de-activation to stakeholders
Objectives for the overall exercises include the following:
  • Practice the decision-making process for NAHLN activation and de-activation
  • Identify testing algorithms to be used after an FMD outbreak has been confirmed, and for proving freedom from disease if vaccination is used in the eradication strategy
  • Examine testing capacity, taking into account the needs for ongoing outbreak and surveillance testing, law enforcement sampling, Select Agent Rule compliance, and third party sample submissions
  • Define communication chains for reporting and integration of FMD surveillance and testing results
The outcomes of the initial exercise will be extended to the State and Regional level for the series of follow-up exercises.
Existing funding will support exercises at an additional 10 locations.  The NAHLN Program Office recently sent an e-mail to Laboratory Directors inviting them to host a TTX in the summer of 2010.  Laboratories were asked to respond by April 5, 2010 if they had an interest in hosting or participating in one of the exercises.
Article submitted by the USDA/APHIS/VS/NVSL, NAHLN Program Office, the National Agriculture Biosecurity Center (NABC) at Kansas State University, and CNA Corporation.
The following links show a map and laboratory list of the laboratories that have been approved as part of the NAHLN testing network:
AI Testing Laboratories (54):  Map and Laboratory List
BSE Testing Laboratories (8):  Map and Laboratory List
CWD/Scrapie Testing Laboratories (25):  Map and Laboratory List
CSF Testing Laboratories (38):  Map and Laboratory List
FMD Testing Laboratories (38):  Map and Laboratory List
NDV Testing Laboratories (52):  Map and Laboratory List
SIV Testing Laboratories (36):  Map and Laboratory List
VSV Testing Laboratories (7):  Map and Laboratory List 
For more information on the NAHLN, visit the
NAHLN Home Page
Archived issues of The NAHLN Quarterly
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