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NAHLN Activities

NAHLN Activities

NAHLN Founding Principles

Meeting national needs for diagnostic testing for foreign and emerging diseases is a critical responsibility that requires accuracy and timeliness in testing.  The NAHLN has established and implemented the following founding principles in order to ensure confidence in diagnostic test results, both domestically and internationally:

  • Quality Management Standards: Operating within a quality management system that meets AAVLD, ISO 17025, or equivalent requirements,
  • Standardized Testing: Using standardized protocols, reference materials, and equipment in facilities with biosafety/biosecurity levels requisite for testing performed,
  • Competency of Laboratory Personnel: Establishing and maintaining competency of laboratory personnel performing testing on behalf of the NAHLN through training and proficiency testing;
  • Secure Communications: Confirming laboratory participation in electronic communications and reporting systems established by the NAHLN,
  • Laboratory Preparedness: Evaluating preparedness (identify and prioritize gaps) through scenario testing.


Quality Management Standards

All Level 1 and Level 2 NAHLN laboratories must either be accredited by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD), or by an independent third party accrediting body according to the ISO 17025 standard covering general requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories. If a Level 3, Affiliate or Specialty NAHLN laboratory is not accredited, it must have a functional quality system in place that is consistent with these ISO 17025 standards. Additionally, these laboratories must be willing to participate in regular site visits and must be approved by the NAHLN Program Office for performing testing on behalf of APHIS-VS.

To learn more about AAVLD’s requirements for accredited veterinary medical diagnostic laboratories, click here.  Further information about ISO/IEC 17025:2005 standards can be found here.


Standardized Testing

  • NAHLN SOPs: Click this link for a current list of NAHLN SOPs.
  • NAHLN SOP Deviation Request Form: Follow this link for a copy of the current Deviation Request form, and instructions for submitting to the NAHLN Program Office.

Diseases under NAHLN Scope: NAHLN laboratories are trained, proficiency tested, and follow standardized testing protocols for the following diseases and animal species:

Disease*

Animal Species

Laboratories approved for testing

African Swine Fever (ASF)

Swine

(approved NAHLN laboratories)

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)

Cattle

(approved NAHLN laboratories )

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

Captive cervids

(deer, elk)

(approved NAHLN laboratories--IHC)(approved NAHLN laboratories-ELISA)

Classical Swine Fever (CSF)

Swine

(approved NAHLN laboratories)

Newcastle Disease (ND)

Poultry,

Wild birds

(approved NAHLN laboratories)

Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD)

Cattle, Swine

(approved NAHLN laboratories)

Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA)

Fish

(approved NAHLN laboratories)

Influenza A Virus in Avians (IAV-A)

Poultry,

Wild birds

(approved NAHLN laboratories)

Influenza A Virus in Swine (IAV-S)

Swine

(approved NAHLN laboratories)

Pseudorabies Virus (PRV)

Swine

(approved NAHLN laboratories)

Scrapie

Sheep, goats

(approved NAHLN laboratories)

Spring Viremia of Carp (SVC)

Fish

(approved NAHLN laboratories)

Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV)

Horses

(approved NAHLN laboratories)

Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS)

Fish

(approved NAHLN laboratories)

*click each name for more information on the disease and APHIS-VS surveillance and preparedness activities

 

Competency of Laboratory Personnel

Proficiency Testing: The NAHLN Program Office coordinates with the NVSL reference laboratories to ensure NAHLN laboratory personnel are annually trained and proficiency tested. For more information on NVSL’s proficiency testing for these or other diseases, click here, or contact NVSL.

Training: For more information on training activities conducted by the NAHLN Program office, including our Quality Management System training, click this link.


Secure Communications

NAHLN laboratories play a critical role in APHIS-VS’ outbreak and surveillance testing programs. As such, the ability to securely share information, data and test results between Federal and non-Federal entities is a high priority for the NAHLN.

NAHLN Electronic Messaging of Test Results: For additional background on NAHLN messaging, follow this link. The NAHLN electronic messaging system was established using international data and messaging standards so that accurate and consistent diagnostic information could be quickly and securely transmitted to APHIS-VS during animal disease outbreaks, or as part of APHIS surveillance programs or during emerging disease situations.


Preparedness

Exercises and Drills: Another of the NAHLN founding principles is ensuring continuous laboratory preparedness for animal disease outbreaks and other emergency situations. This is accomplished by conducting planned and unplanned exercises or other scenario-based drills. To learn more about recent NAHLN exercises and drills, click here

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