If images are not visible, click on Webpage version at top of newsletter

The NAHLN Quarterly |November 2010| 
Volume 2, No. 3


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

Quick Links

For quick viewing, click below on the articles that interest you!

In This Issue
Readers' Review
QMS Training Program
NAHLN Surveillance Update
Wild Bird Tissue Reference Archive
NAHLN Procedure Manual References
QA Update
IT Update
Getting to Know Us
Acronym Key

Input Welcome!

We appreciate hearing from you!   Are there other topics that you would like to hear about? 
Please e-mail your comments to us at

Current Number of Subscribers:




Upcoming Events

November 11-17, 2010:
53rd Annual American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians/U.S. Animal Health Association Meeting
Minneapolis, Minnesota


December 5-7, 2010:

2010 Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases

(CRWAD) Meeting

Chicago, Illinois

Join Our Mailing List!
A Note from the Coordinator

Last week I received an e-mail request from someone I've never met asking me to be their mentor.  My first thought was that I was too busy and didn't need to add another responsibility to my existing list.  I penned a polite response and was ready to hit send, when I was interrupted by someone coming into my office.  I went on to meetings and the activities of the day; one was to review the comments from the participants of the Quality Management System Training (see the "QMS Training Program" article below).  Many participants commented on the value of working with others to increase their understanding and establishing relationships with other participants.  As I was shutting down my computer at the end of day, I saw the draft e-mail and thought about the comments I'd read earlier in the day. 

Oh how my perspective had changed during the course of the day!  I thought back to how I have been mentored and coached by many people during my life.  My parents taught their children the values of education, family, and a strong work ethic.  Those lessons were reinforced by friends' parents and teachers in the rural farming community where I grew up.   During my career with USDA, I've had mentors within and outside of the organization.  They've helped me more than I can express by encouraging me to strive for excellence, to act with integrity, and to persevere through difficult situations.  When I asked one of those mentors how I could possibly ever pay them back, the response was entirely selfless; "pass it on".  


I slid into the role of mentor without realizing it.  I was working with two young professionals who had tremendous energy and a strong commitment to animal health.  They asked me to help them learn more about the organization and how they could work through problems.  Over a period of time, I became their mentor and can honestly say that their positive attitudes and enthusiasm have renewed my energy and helped me stay focused on my goals.  Their input has given me much more than I was ever able to give them!   


I responded affirmatively to the request to be a mentor and am looking forward to getting to know my new mentee and learning from her.  I encourage each of you to look for opportunities to mentor others; whether it's professional or personal, you'll have the opportunity to help others, gain more insight into yourself, and develop rewarding relationships.  Pass it on!


As promised in the last issue of The NAHLN Quarterly, the minutes from the first meeting of the NAHLN Coordinating Council can be accessed by clicking below and will also be posted on the NAHLN website.  We are currently working to establish a time for regular conference calls and our next meeting.  Updates on activities will continue to be provided through The NAHLN Quarterly.


Coordinating Council Meeting Minutes 



Features in our next issue will include the following:

  • Summary and recommendations of the NAHLN Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Table Top Exercises  
  • Development of the NAHLN Portal and Capacity Calculator
  • Activities of the NAHLN Methods Technical Working Group


These activities will also be discussed at several committee meetings at the 53rd Annual American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD)/U.S. Animal Health Association (USAHA) Meeting held in Minneapolis, Minnesota next month. 


If you would like to learn more about the NAHLN or our activities, please feel free to contact me at Barbara.M.Martin@aphis.usda.gov or the NAHLN Program Office at NAHLN@aphis.usda.gov.

     If images are not visible, click on Webpage version at top of newsletter.

Barbara M. Martin
NAHLN Coordinator
National Veterinary Services Laboratories 
Readers' Review

Readers' Review of The NAHLN Quarterly

The first issue of The NAHLN Quarterly was provided in February 2009 to Laboratory Directors of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) as an electronic newsletter with the purpose of increasing communication with stakeholders.  Since that time, six issues have been released and subscriptions have increased to over 1300.  Subscribers include NAHLN Laboratory Directors, State Animal Health Officials, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Program Staff, animal industry representatives, and other State, Federal, and international representatives. 


In order to continue to provide readers with the information that they need, we conducted an assessment of our newsletter this past summer.  Click here to read The Readers' Review Data Summary.


We appreciate your feedback and suggestions; some of which have already been implemented including adding quick links to the "In This Issue" section, providing more timely surveillance updates as well as a regular update on quality assurance.  Results from the Readers' Review, as well as other feedback received, demonstrate that the newsletter contains relevant information.  Most readers reported that they would like to receive the newsletter on a quarterly basis and are satisfied with the current layout, content, and regular updates.  We did receive some great suggestions and ideas for other features and ways that we can improve our publication.  Overall, the newsletter is seen as a valuable and effective tool to disseminate important information regarding activities related to the NAHLN.


Thank you to those individuals that expressed interest in providing content for future editions.  We will be in touch!  If there are topics that you'd like to hear about or articles that you'd like to contribute, please contact us by e-mail at nahln@aphis.usda.gov or by phone at (515) 337-7731.


Thanks again for your valuable feedback!


Article submitted by Jill Brown, Program Analyst, USDA/APHIS/VS/NVSL, NAHLN Program Office, Ames, Iowa
Follow-up to Quality Management System (QMS) Training Program

The National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) Laboratories must be prepared to be involved in surveillance for early detection of a foreign animal disease, surge testing during an outbreak, and testing samples during the outbreak recovery phase.  As such, a high degree of confidence in the quality of the laboratories and the associated test results is required.  All NAHLN Laboratories must be fully accredited by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD) or by an accrediting body according to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)/International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 17025 standard.  If a NAHLN Laboratory is not accredited, it is required to have implemented a quality management system consistent with the AAVLD or OIE/ISO17025 standard, be willing to participate in regular site visits, and be approved by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL).


To assist NAHLN Laboratories in meeting this requirement and to continuously improve quality management systems throughout the Network, the NAHLN Program Office collaborated with members of the AAVLD Accreditation Committee to develop and deliver a Quality Management System (QMS) Training Program.  The QMS Training Program was held August 3-5, 2010 at the National Centers for Animal Health facility in Ames, Iowa.  The course, funded by Veterinary Services, was open to all NAHLN Laboratories and prospective laboratories. Each laboratory was invited to nominate two participants with an active role in the implementation of the laboratory's quality management system.  A total of 87 participants representing 53 laboratories attended the training; including 40 NAHLN Laboratories, 8 prospective laboratories, 4 Federal laboratories (NVSL in Ames, Iowa; NVSL's Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Plum Island, New York; USDA laboratory in Topeka, Kansas; Plant Protection and Quarantine), and one guest from the University of Montreal. 

Volume 2, No. 3 QMS Training
QMS instructor and participants engaged in a wet lab exercise


The three day training program provided an interactive class environment that included training on such topics as quality management system requirements, the accreditation process, document control, internal auditing, corrective actions, and root cause analysis.  In addition, a wet lab provided the opportunity for participants to apply what was learned by conducting an audit and recognizing non-conformances.  Participants also had the opportunity to tour our facility.


At the completion of the training, participants had the opportunity to complete evaluations and provide feedback on their experiences at the QMS training.  A total of 78 (90%) of the evaluations were returned, and overall the training was reported as a very positive experience for the participants. A summary report, which will include information on the training, a summary of the evaluations, options for further deliveries, and possible expansion of the program will be posted to the NAHLN website.


Article submitted by Kelly Burkhart, Microbiologist, USDA/APHIS/VS/NVSL, NAHLN Program Office, Ames, Iowa

NAHLN Surveillance Update

Wild Bird Avian Influenza (AI) Surveillance 
The new biological year for conducting surveillance for highly pathogenic avian influenza in wild, migratory birds began on April 1st.  Approximately 30% of the target number of 44,000 samples is collected from April through September from resident birds to provide adequate temporal coverage and improve the early detection objective.  These samples also help to establish baseline data about avian influenza viruses in the resident population and significantly improve steps toward protecting the U.S. poultry industry.  Fifty-three NAHLN Laboratories are approved for avian influenza surveillance testing and 35 of the avian influenza-approved laboratories are participating in Wildlife Services' Wild Bird Surveillance testing.

Volume 2, No. 3, WS AI update 

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Surveillance
Six (6) NAHLN Laboratories currently participate in enhanced BSE surveillance testing.  BSE surveillance testing by NAHLN Laboratories began in June of 2004.  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 (not including NVSL).  The total number of samples tested for BSE by NAHLN Laboratories from October 2009 through September 2010 was 41,138.
 Volume 2, No. 3, BSE
BSE Samples Tested by NAHLN Laboratories
October 2009 - September 2010

*BSE testing data provided by the USDA/APHIS/Veterinary Services, National Surveillance Unit
Classical Swine Fever (CSF) Surveillance 
In January 2006, USDA implemented a CSF surveillance plan developed by the National Surveillance Unit in States (and Puerto Rico) with a high risk for introduction of CSF.  Currently, there are 38 NAHLN Laboratories approved for CSF surveillance testing.  The NVSL's Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (FADDL) located at Plum Island, New York, performs confirmatory testing.  Over 33,692 samples have been tested by NAHLN Laboratories since the inception of the program (not including NVSL).

From October 2009 through September 2010, there were 3,754 veterinary diagnostic laboratory (VDL) specimens and 2,936 slaughter specimens tested for CSF by NAHLN Laboratories (not including NVSL).  The tables below show the number of VDL and slaughter samples tested, by month, for CSF surveillance. 

Volume 2, No. 3, CSF VDL
VDL Samples Tested for CSF by NAHLN Laboratories
October 2009 - September 2010
Volume 2, No. 3, CSF slaughter
Slaughter Samples Tested for CSF by NAHLN Laboratories
October 2009 - September 2010

*CSF testing data provided by the USDA/APHIS/Veterinary Services, National Surveillance Unit
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Surveillance
Since 2001, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has worked to develop and implement a CWD Program to prevent and control CWD in farmed/captive cervid herds and to conduct surveillance in free-ranging cervid populations to include deer, elk, and moose.  The CWD Program includes a herd certification program that involves surveillance strategies to monitor for CWD in farmed/captive cervid herds, to respond to detections of CWD-positive cervids, and to investigate epidemiologically-linked animals.  Interstate movement of cervids is also based on surveillance and herd certification status.  

Currently, there are 23 NAHLN Laboratories approved for CWD surveillance testing.  The National Veterinary Services Laboratories' (NVSL) Pathobiology Laboratory in Ames, Iowa performs confirmatory testing. 

In Federal fiscal year 2010 (from October 1, 2009 through September 30, 2010), 14,580 farmed/captive cervids were tested for CWD by NAHLN Laboratories.  An additional 5,419 cervids were tested by NVSL.

The table below shows the number of animals submitted for testing by month for CWD from October 2009 - September 2010 (not including NVSL). 
Volume 2, No. 3, CWD
 Number of Animals Tested for CWD by NAHLN Laboratories
October 2009 - September 2010
*CWD testing data provided by the USDA/APHIS/Veterinary Services (VS), National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL).  Chart does not include 5,419 animals tested by NVSL.

Scrapie Surveillance
The National Scrapie Eradication Program is a USDA, APHIS, VS initiative with the objective of eradicating scrapie in U.S. sheep and goat populations.  Efforts to eradicate scrapie have been ongoing since 1952; in 2001, an accelerated Scrapie Eradication Program initiated.  Since 2003, surveillance for the program has been conducted primarily through the Regulatory Scrapie Slaughter Surveillance (RSSS) component.  Other surveillance activities include testing of scrapie-exposed and potentially exposed sheep and goats found through investigations of infected animals; clinical-suspect animals and other mature sheep and goats submitted to veterinary diagnostic laboratories; rabies-suspect animals that test negative for rabies; and voluntary on-farm testing of flocks with risk factors for scrapie or as part of the Scrapie Flock Certification Program. 

Currently, there are 23 NAHLN Laboratories approved for scrapie surveillance testing.  The National Veterinary Services Laboratories' (NVSL) Pathobiology Laboratory in Ames, Iowa performs confirmatory testing.  

From October 1, 2009 through  September 30, 2010, 45,165 animals were submitted for scrapie testing through RSSS and 754 animals through other surveillance activities.

The table below shows the number of animals submitted for scrapie testing, by month, from October 2009 - September 2010 (not including NVSL).
Volume 2, No. 3, Scrapie 
 Number of Animals Tested for Scrapie by NAHLN Laboratories
October 2009 -  September 2010

*Scrapie testing data provided by the USDA/APHIS/VS, National Surveillance Unit and the NVSL.  Chart does not include 1,204 animals tested at NVSL. 


Swine Influenza Virus (SIV) Surveillance  

Veterinary Services has developed and implemented a surveillance plan for swine influenza virus (SIV), including a default anonymous stream within participating NAHLN Laboratories.  The addition of the anonymous option is designed to encourage pork producers to participate in SIV surveillance when their pigs show signs of respiratory disease.  Within the anonymous stream, the results will only be identified back to the level of the State of origin, unless a producer requests the traceable option.


The SIV surveillance plan is designed to detect and identify circulating influenza viruses in swine.  Additionally, this surveillance plan will provide epidemiological data related to genomic sequences.  The objectives of the surveillance program are to:

  1. Monitor genetic evolution of SIV to better understand endemic and emerging influenza virus ecology.
  2. Make SIV isolates available for research and to establish an objective database for genetic analysis of these isolates and related information.
  3. Select proper isolates for the development of relevant diagnostic reagents, updating diagnostic assays, and vaccine seed stock products.

Thirty-seven NAHLN Laboratories are participating in SIV surveillance activities.


The table below shows the number of samples tested since SIV Surveillance began in May of 2009.  From May 22, 2009 through August 31, 2010, a total of 1,502 swine were tested for SIV and 69 swine from 22 laboratory accessions have been confirmed positive for 2009 pandemic H1N1.  NVSL presumptive and confirmed results for swine and other animal species are available on the web at USDA H1N1 Flu Collection Page   

Vol 2, No 3, SIV

The surveillance information in this article has been provided by USDA APHIS':



Veterinary Services (VS)-National Center for Animal Health Programs,

 VS-National Surveillance Unit,

VS-National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) and the NAHLN Program Office,
Wildlife Services-National Wildlife Disease Program



*Charts in this article are based on information and test results available at the time of report generation. Numbers are subject to change due to later reporting of test results and updates in the database(s).  



NAHLN Laboratory Director Feature



Photo courtesy of the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Jerry Saliki, Director, Athens Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, University of Georgia - Athens


Jerry Saliki earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Liège in Belgium, a Diploma in Tropical Veterinary Medicine from Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium, and a PhD in virology from Cornell University in New York.  In 1994, he became a Diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists with a specialty in virology.


Saliki has an extensive laboratory background which includes graduate research work at Cornell University; a two-year residence as a visiting scientist at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories' Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory on Plum Island, New York and Head of the virology/serology section at the Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  In 2005, Saliki began serving as Head of the virology/serology section of the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the University of Georgia in Athens and in 2007, also became the Laboratory Director.


Saliki's career has been marked by a constant desire to implement what he would like to call a "one diagnostic" approach, which seeks to include non-traditional animal species in our infectious disease diagnostic armamentarium. He has demonstrated this through his development of a marine mammal diagnostic program which started in the mid-1990s at the Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and has continued with the recent establishment of the Georgia Laboratory Animal Diagnostic Service (GLADS) at the Athens Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.


While away from the laboratory, Saliki enjoys hiking, playing ping-pong and board games.


When asked why NAHLN is important to him, he responded that it is "because the Network (NAHLN) has completely revolutionized the relationship between the Federal government and State-supported laboratories.  The concept and functioning of NAHLN have instituted a true partnership between State-supported laboratories and the Federal laboratory (NVSL) to the benefit of animal health nationwide".  He is particularly appreciative of NAHLN's role in standardizing test protocols for major diseases among laboratories; assuring timely dissemination of information and providing critical funding that has enhanced the Nation's capacity to better respond to endemic and emerging animal diseases.


Thank you, Jerry, for your support of NAHLN and animal health!


Article submitted by Jill Brown, Program Analyst, USDA/APHIS/VS/NVSL, NAHLN Program Staff, Ames, Iowa

Wild Bird Tissue Reference Archive

Wild Bird Tissue Reference Archive Has New Home


The Wildlife Services' National Wildlife Disease Program Wild Bird Tissue Reference Archive was initiated in 2006 as a partnership between USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services' Wildlife Services and the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN).  The archive consists of swab samples collected for avian influenza surveillance, and has grown to be a valuable repository now housing over 250,000 samples. This collaboration has been a critical piece of Wildlife Services' effort to establish a network for early detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the United States.  While highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza (AI) has not been found in North America, many of the samples have been critical in characterizing the distribution and movement of low pathogenic avian influenza in North American wild birds, and in assay development.


The Wild Bird Tissue Reference Archive is open and accessible to other agencies, universities, and organizations.  We believe it will prove to be an invaluable resource for a variety of studies including: AI-related research, assay validation, emerging disease diagnostics, and retrospective disease studies.  The archive was originally located at the National Wildlife Disease Program offices in Fort Collins, Colorado.  During the summer of 2010, the collection was relocated to the Colorado State University, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, also located in Fort Collins, Colorado.  The archive is jointly administered through a cooperative agreement between Wildlife Services and Colorado State University. 


Avian influenza samples from wild birds that are found to be matrix negative for avian influenza virus by real-time polymerase chain reaction (rtPCR), should be shipped to the new location.  For shipping details contact staffers Katie Brown at k.brown@colostate.edu and Ted Anderson at tanders@mail.colstate.edu.


We invite inquiries and proposals for research using the collection.  To inquire about sample loans or place a request, please contact the archive supervisors:  John Baroch at

John.A.Baroch@aphis.usda.gov or Kristy Pabilonia at Kristy.Pabilonia@colostate.edu



Article submitted by John Baroch, Wildlife Disease Biologist, USDA/APHIS/Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Disease Program, Fort Collins, Colorado 

NAHLN Procedure Manual References

Below you will find 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:  Tom DeLiberto at thomas.j.deliberto@aphis.usda.gov.

Classical Swine Fever Surveillance Procedure Manual, latest version dated April 2007

Pseudorabies Surveillance Procedure Manual, Version 1.3, latest version dated October 2010 New Version!

Influenza Surveillance in Swine Procedures Manual, latest version dated July 2010


Procedure Manual for Vesicular Stomatitis Viruses (VSV), latest version dated January 2008

Quality Assurance (QA) Update

Quality systems aren't just about completeness of a quality manual and abundance of system documents.  Accurate and up-to-date documents certainly are a critical part and provide the foundation for the system, but the way in which that system is put into action in the laboratory is what makes a program a success or failure.  Each laboratory is unique, and so each laboratory's functioning quality system is unique.  The "American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD) Requirements for an Accredited Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory" provide the rules to follow, but do not specify how to implement those rules.  That allows each laboratory the flexibility to develop a system that is useful for them.  This is the challenge of the quality managers and laboratory staff.  How to make their unique system work as efficiently, painlessly, and effectively as possible, while complying with the AAVLD requirements and assuring accurate and timely information is provided to our clients.


It is important to take advantage of what resources are available to help with confusion in interpreting the rules and discovering different tools other laboratories have used that work.  There is no one-size-fits-all program that will work for everyone, but certain aspects of one laboratory's program may provide ideas that can work for another laboratory.  It is essential that we continue to share and exchange ideas and examples, even after our programs are established and matured.  Laboratories are not a stagnant environment.  Things are constantly evolving and changing.  Budget shortfalls, changes in organizational structure, staffing issues, facility replacement or aging, new test methods, new regulations, new equipment, new databases, and much more, present new issues that may require adjustments in the quality system.  If we take advantage of what's already proven to work, we can succeed in improving our systems without too much trial and error that can make staff members frustrated and reluctant to change.  The AAVLD Quality Assurance Committee was created as a resource to provide this opportunity.  In addition, quality training opportunities such as the recent NAHLN Quality Management System Training allow staff to become more familiar with the requirements of a quality system, which may also provide a source of new ideas for improvement.


External and internal audits provide us with indications of where we need to place more effort.  One area where deficiencies are commonly found during an AAVLD audit is document control.  This is a process that has many different aspects to it, and therefore many areas that are subject to nonconformance.  Quality Managers are often disappointed to find that the document control system that has been established is not working as intended.  In these instances, instead of forcing the policies of an existing document control program on the laboratory, it is often useful to examine the issue in more detail.  For example, if a document is being printed and used consistently against policy, it is helpful to find out why.  In discussing the issue with the laboratory staff and finding out what the needs are, it may be possible to come up with a solution that will fit with the current policy and still provide the laboratory staff with what they need.  Or, it is also possible to make adjustments in the laboratory policy to assist the laboratory staff while still complying with the requirement.  This is where examples or methods from other laboratories may be helpful, and can be adapted to your use.  Keeping an open mind to other ways of achieving the same goal can help your program to evolve and provide laboratory staff with a system that works for them.  Laboratory staffs are far more likely to stay in compliance if the system is set up to work with their needs, when possible.  Flexibility and willingness to allow the quality system to evolve are important for continuous improvement. 


Another common area of nonconformance is documentation of training for initial and ongoing competence.  The AAVLD Quality Committee is planning two training sessions during their upcoming meeting in November.  One, regarding training, is intended to provide a forum where examples that are working well from different systems will be shared by a panel of presenters.  Following that is an open discussion when members will be encouraged to share their own examples with the group.  This exchange will provide a great opportunity to access new ideas that could be used to improve or enhance existing quality programs.   I encourage interested AAVLD members to come and share their successes and difficulties with training documentation, as it may provide a great new idea or a solution to an ongoing problem.  Working together we can improve the quality of individual laboratories and the discipline overall.

Article submitted by Patricia Lukens, Quality Systems Manager, Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington
Information Technology (IT) Update

Background.  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.  Currently, there are 38 laboratories approved for CSF surveillance testing and 21 laboratories that are receiving surveillance samples.  Thirteen of those are sending test results electronically. 


Fifty-three NAHLN Laboratories are approved for avian influenza surveillance testing; thirty-five 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, twelve laboratories are actively messaging into the NAHLN IT system. 


Update.  The updates needed to improve messaging avian influenza (AI) data were released in June 2010.  Since then, 3 additional labs have been approved to start production messaging wild bird AI results, with 5 more laboratories meeting the testing requirements needed to start production messaging for AI results.


Additionally, final testing of updates to include ELISA results in the CSF result messages has been completed and was released to production in mid-October.  The NAHLN IT team has been working on enhancements for messaging and subsequent reporting that will allow additional NAHLN Laboratories to message into the production system.  Finally, work is underway on a message for swine influenza virus.


In 2011, emphasis will be placed on increasing the number of laboratories that message; additional funding for the enhancement of electronic messaging capability has been provided to 12 Member laboratories.  Additionally, NAHLN will focus on developing and implementing processes to comply with the USDA'S Information System security requirements.


Messaging Data.  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 (VSLS) database for CSF or are entered into the system by Wildlife Services' personnel for AI. 


The messaging data has been provided by the APHIS, Veterinary Services, Office of the Chief Information Officer and testing data provided by the APHIS, Veterinary Services, National Surveillance Unit.

 Vol 2, No 3, WS AI messaged
Vol 2, No 3, CSF messaged 
*Charts are based on information and test/messaging results available at the time of report generation. Numbers are subject to change due to later reporting of test results and updates in the database(s).

Article submitted by Sarah Tomlinson, NAHLN Associate Coordinator, USDA/APHIS/VS/NVSL, NAHLN Program Staff, Fort Collins, Colorado and Leah Estberg, NAHLN Information System Subject Matter Expert, USDA/APHIS/VS/Office of the Chief Information Officer, Fort Collins, Colorado
Getting to Know Us

Vol 2, No 3, Patti Klein

Dr. Patrice Klein,

Senior Staff Veterinarian,

Veterinary Services' National Center for Animal Health Program 


Pat Klein, Senior Staff Veterinarian for the Veterinary Services' National Center for Animal Health Programs, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Program--earned her Veterinary Medical Doctor degree from the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1988 and a Master's degree in Toxicology from St. John's University, New York in 1985.  After veterinary school, Pat completed a residency in Avian Medicine and Diagnostic Pathology at University of California-Davis which involved working in the California Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory System.  Subsequently, she completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Comparative Pathology at The Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland with an emphasis on zoo and wild animal pathology.  She also completed basic graduate epidemiology training at The Johns Hopkins University, School of Public Health.  Pat is board certified in the American College of Poultry Veterinarians (ACPV) and the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine (ACVPM). 


Earlier in her career, Pat worked as a certified medical technologist; first in human clinical pathology and subsequently applying that skill to work in medical research labs (Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York).  During her Federal career, Pat has worked for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services, the U.S. Public Health Service as a Commissioned Corps officer (Commander/O-5), the Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Veterinary Services.


Pat has had opportunities to work in wildlife and domestic animal medicine, environmental toxicology, veterinary pathology, and public health.  She feels that the concept of "One Health" is not new to the veterinary profession.  She says, "We have been trained as veterinarians to provide 'One Health' to ensure the health of animals and to prevent disease transmission from animals (and food derived from animals) to people".


Pat has been working in VS' National Center for Animals Health Programs since 2005 as Program Manager for Notifiable Avian Influenza and now as the Chronic Wasting Disease Program Manager.  Both programs have involved animal disease surveillance using test methods conducted at NAHLN Laboratories and validated by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories.  When asked what she would like to see for NAHLN's future Pat responded, "I would like to see close working relationships and partnerships between the National Center for Animal Health Programs staff and our NAHLN colleagues toward development of 'user friendly' and confidential laboratory reporting databases that provide timely information to the Program staff for disease prevention and control".


Outside of work Pat enjoys her pets (2 cats, a 30 year-old Blue & Gold macaw, and a rescued Russian tortoise), hiking, canoeing, bird watching, and cross-country skiing.  She volunteers her "extra" time by providing veterinary services at a local wildlife rescue center that receives over 4000 wild animals each year (songbirds, waterfowl, raptors, reptiles, small animals, etc).  She is also the Team Commander of the American Veterinary Medical Association-sponsored Veterinary Medical Assistance Team (VMAT-2) based in the Mid-Atlantic.  The VMAT responds to animals in disaster situations.  As a part of this team Pat was deployed to the World Trade Center following 9/11/2001; the low pathogenic avian influenza outbreak in Virginia (2002); and to locations in Mississippi and Louisiana affected by Hurricane Katrina (2005).


Thank you, Pat, for all of your contributions to animal health!



Article submitted by Tari Moody, Program Assistant, USDA/APHIS/VS/NVSL, NAHLN Program Staff, Ames, Iowa


Archived issues of  The NAHLN Quarterly

The following links show a map and laboratory list of the laboratories that have been approved as part of the NAHLN testing network(including NVSL):

AI Testing Laboratories (54):  Map and Laboratory List
BSE Testing Laboratories (7):  Map and Laboratory List
CWD/Scrapie Testing Laboratories (24):  Map and Laboratory List
CSF Testing Laboratories (40):  Map and Laboratory List
FMD Testing Laboratories (41):  Map and Laboratory List
NDV Testing Laboratories (52):  Map and Laboratory List
SIV Testing Laboratories (36):  Map and Laboratory List
VSV Testing Laboratories (6):  Map and Laboratory List 

Original 12 NAHLN Laboratories:  Map and Laboratory List

For more information on the NAHLN, visit the NAHLN Homepage

Acronym Key

Click Here for Acronym Key for Volume 2, No. 3 of The NAHLN Quarterly 

Join Our Mailing List!

If images are not visible, click on Webpage version at top of newsletter