The NAHLN Update 2019
Volume 10, No. 1
Founding Principles and Features of the NAHLN
  • Operate within a quality management system
  • Establish and maintain competency of laboratory personnel
  • Use Standardized protocols, reference materials, and equipment
  • Use facilities with biosafety/biosecurity levels requisite for testing performed
  • Participate in communications and real time electronic reporting systems
  • Evaluate preparedness (identify and prioritize gaps) through scenario testing 
In This Issue:

Recurring call schedule

Upcoming calls/events

Vesicular Stomatitis

Electronic messaging reminder

Upcoming Messaging Competencies

Changes to Permit Requirements

NAHLN Laboratory Director Feature

USDA Proposes to Consolidate Regulations for Laboratory Testing
Quality Matters!
ASF/CSF active surveillance program

ASF Exercises

EDWG 2018 Main Exercise After Action Report
Getting to know us

NAHLN AMR Pilot Project Year 1 Summary Report Now Available

Recurring call schedule:

NAHLN Coordinating Council (CC) calls occur on the third Monday of each month.
NAHLN Methods Technical Working Group (MTWG) Core group calls occur on the second Wednesday of each month.
NAHLN Exercises and Drills Working Group (EDWG) calls occur on the third Friday of each month. People interested in serving on this group should email the NAHLN Program Office (NPO) by clicking here .
NAHLN IT committee core group and general membership calls occur bi-monthly on the first Wednesday of the month. People interested in attending either the core or general call can do so by selecting the personnel contact options of either IT Core Committee member or IT General committee member in the APHIS laboratory Portal.

Upcoming calls/events:

July 17, 1:00 – 2:00 PM CST MTWG General call

Input Welcome!  

We appreciate hearing from you! 
Are there other topics that you would like to hear about? Please email your comments to us at .
   Current Number of Subscribers: 
Fun Facts
Did you know the FAD PReP Material and References website includes information on:

Vesicular Stomatitis
On June 21, 2019, the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa, confirmed a finding of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) infection (Indiana serotype) on a premises in Kinney County, Texas. VSV-Indiana serotype has not been diagnosed in the U.S. since 1998; all VSV cases from 2004-2016 have been VSV-New Jersey serotype. Horses on the index premises have met the case definition of infection with compatible clinical signs and virus isolation positive results. This is the 2019 VSV index case for the United States.

On June 24, 2019, the NVSL confirmed VSV infection (Indiana serotype) by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in a lesioned horse on a second premises located in Tom Green County, Texas. The epidemiological investigation on the second premises is ongoing and the PCR-positive result meets case definition for a subsequent case of VSV in an affected state. The second affected premises is located nearly 200 miles due north of the index premises.
The New Mexico Department of Agriculture Veterinary Diagnostic Services (NMDA/VDS) NAHLN laboratory has been activated to test in-state clinical equid samples for VSV.

Vesicular stomatitis is a viral disease that primarily affects horses and cattle and occasionally swine, sheep, goats, llamas, and alpacas. Humans can also become infected with the disease when handling affected animals, but this is a rare event. Vesicular stomatitis has been confirmed only in the Western Hemisphere. It is known to be an endemic disease in the warmer regions of North, Central, and South America, but outbreaks of the disease in other temperate geographic parts of the hemisphere occur sporadically. In the past decade, the Southwestern and Western United States have experienced a number of vesicular stomatitis outbreaks. Outbreaks usually occur during the warmer months, often along waterways. In some years, only a few premises in a single State have been affected. However, in other years, multiple States and many premises have been involved. Since there could be a vesicular stomatitis outbreak in any given year, it is essential that veterinarians and livestock owners be on the alert for animals displaying clinical signs of the disease. For current information on vesicular stomatitis outbreaks or summaries of the most recent past outbreaks, please visit the APHIS Web site

Article submitted by Christina Loiacono, Coordinator, NAHLN Program Office   USDA APHIS VS D & B, NVSL, Ames, IA  
Electronic messaging reminder
The Laboratory Assessment Matrix, completed by NAHLN Laboratories each fall, provides specific information regarding the laboratory’s capability and capacity to support the NAHLN. Electronic messaging of test results is necessary to meet both our mission and the expectations of internal and external stakeholders. NPO would like to remind laboratories of the following timelines set in the Electronic Messaging category for laboratories to have the capability to message:

  • Level 1 Laboratories, including branch laboratories, will message all approved to test diseases by Sept. 30, 2019
  • Level 2 Laboratories, including branch laboratories, will message all approved to test diseases by Sept. 30, 2020
  • Level 3 Laboratories will message all approved to test diseases by Sept. 30, 2021.
If a new approval occurs for a laboratory, or another test is added to the messages we can receive from the laboratories, laboratories will have a year to successfully message these. 
NAHLN scope diseases that can be messaged include: Avian paramyxovirus 1 (APMV-1); African swine fever (ASF); Classical swine fever (CSF); Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD); Influenza A Virus in Avian (IAV-A); Influenza A Virus in Swine (IAV-S); Pseudorabies (PRV); Scrapie; and Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV).  

Article submitted by Traci Imlau, Program Assistant, NAHLN Program Office, USDA APHIS VS, D & B, NVSL, Ames, IA.
Upcoming messaging competency schedule
Changes to Permit requirements
Veterinary Services has updated their guidance on permit requirements.
Permits are no longer required to receive inactivated materials from the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) for quality control and proficiency testing. This includes proficiency tests for the following diseases: avian paramyxovirus-1, African swine fever, classical swine fever, foot and mouth disease, Influenza A virus in Avian, and Influenza A virus in Swine.

Effective immediately the NPO will no longer be coordinating permits for shipping these PTs. Please refer to Guideline 1125: Guideline for No Interstate Transport Permit Required for more information .

Article submitted by Traci Imlau, Program Assistant, NAHLN Program Office, USDA APHIS VS D & B, NVSL, Ames, IA
NAHLN Laboratory Director Feature
Dr. Hemant Kashinath Naikare,
Laboratory Director, Tifton Veterinary Diagnostic and Investigational Laboratory (TVDIL), University of Georgia, Tifton, Georgia.
A native of Mumbai, India, Dr. Naikare earned his bachelor of veterinary science and animal husbandry degrees (BVSc & AH) in 1998 and a master’s degree in veterinary microbiology (MVSc) in 2000 from Bombay Veterinary College, India. He received his PhD in Veterinary Biomedical Sciences in 2005 from Oklahoma State University. In 2009, he became a diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists. Dr. Naikare worked as the Section Head of Bacteriology and Molecular Diagnostics at the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory for over 10 years, from 2007 to 2017. Currently, he serves as the Director of TVDIL, College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia. He is the Section Head of Diagnostic Bacteriology at TVDIL and he is an Associate Professor in the Department of Infectious Diseases.
In addition to laboratory experience, Dr. Naikare earned an MBA from West Texas A&M University in 2014, with a specialization in marketing that helped him develop a customer service focus and apply business concepts to laboratory processes. Dr Naikare has also participated in the Texas A&M AgriLife Advanced Leadership Program. He has served in professional organization leadership roles, including memberships on the Executive Board of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, the Board of Governors of the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists, and the Editorial Board of the Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation.             
Why is NAHLN important to you?
“NAHLN plays a crucial role in safeguarding our nation’s animal agriculture and food supply chain. This network connects the state and federal veterinary diagnostic laboratories and ensures there is effective and prompt communication during a foreign animal disease outbreak or if there is an economically significant disease/high consequential livestock pathogen outbreak that could adversely impact our animal health and economy. NAHLN grant support allows my laboratory to maintain proficiently trained personnel and access to relevant and up-to-date infrastructure to perform high quality diagnostic services and surveillance testing for our stakeholders.”
Before working at your current position, what was the most unusual or interesting job you had?
“Prior to pursuing my graduate studies, I worked as a Veterinary Technical and Sales Officer for Concept Pharmaceuticals Animal Health Division in 1998. I gained phenomenal experience in understanding the needs of our stakeholders, while working with veterinarians and livestock producers in and around Mumbai that were associated with pets, poultry farms, and dairies. This exposure from two decades ago immensely contributed towards my philosophy of providing a stakeholder/customer-centric approach that offers high quality, accurate, rapid, and cost-effective diagnostic services to our clients: veterinary practitioners and producers.”
Are there any random facts about yourself that you want to share?
“I am passionate about providing exposure to our next generation of students (undergraduates, high school, middle school, and 4H students) on careers in veterinary medicine, with special emphasis on laboratory diagnostics.”
Do you have any hobbies that you’d like to share?
“My hobbies include travel (globe trotter), movies and sports (cricket and table-tennis). I enjoy traveling with my wife-Nikita and our daughters, eight year old Riya and four year old Ritu. We love to visit theme parks, meet new people, and experience diverse cultures.”
On behalf of the NAHLN Program Staff, thank you Dr. N aikare !

Article submitted by Traci Imlau, Program Assistant, NAHLN Program Office, USDA APHIS VS D & B, NVSL, Ames, IA.
USDA Proposes to Consolidate Regulations for Laboratory Testing
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is taking steps to make it easier for animal diagnostic laboratories to carry out vital livestock disease testing on behalf of the agency. USDA is proposing to update its regulations outlining how the agency approves laboratories to conduct official testing for some select animal diseases, as well as how they can remain approved. Currently, the specifics for approval processes are listed in disease-specific sections throughout the animal health regulations and they vary by disease.
This proposal does not apply to NAHLN or National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) testing. The proposed rule specifically applies to testing for only three APHIS approved diseases that are not under the NAHLN scope: equine infectious anemia, Johne’s disease, and contagious equine metritis. 

The proposed rule includes information on: facilities; quality systems; procedures; training; reporting; and approval application, maintenance, and appeals. Specifics of the requirements for each category are currently being developed by a working group with representatives from D&B, S&P, and FiOps.
APHIS hopes the standard guidance developed for the regulation can be used in the future for other non-NAHLN, non-NPIP approvals to make the processes more consistent, efficient, and user-friendly.
This proposed rule is published in the Federal Register . It will be available for public comment until July 29, 2019.

Article submitted by Traci Imlau, Program Assistant, NAHLN Program Office, USDA APHIS VS D & B, NVSL, Ames, IA.
Quality Matters!
Quality Management System (QMS) training development
The NPO will collaborate with members of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD) Accreditation Committee and NVSL personnel to develop and deliver an advanced Quality Management System (QMS) course to add to the QMS Training Program for member NAHLN laboratories. The group will meet in August to develop the next course in the QMS training catalog.

The current QMS course, developed in 2010, provides an interactive class environment that encompasses training on quality system requirements; including document control, complaints, corrective actions, equipment, training, internal audits, management review, and a mock audit workshop. Past participants have expressed interest in and outlined topics that could be included in an advanced QMS course. 
We want to hear from you! Please email suggestions for topics you’d like included in an advance course! 
QMS on-line training course is available
This on-line course was developed by Washington State University, in conjunction with the NAHLN, and with contributions from multiple NAHLN laboratory Quality Managers. This course provides quality system training to laboratories in their own locations via the Internet or other electronic media. It provides a consistent message for quality system implementation and management that can be used to train not only quality related personnel, but all laboratory staff.
A good read:
Please take a moment to read Exploring cost of quality in the lab by Andy Quintenzpaul Williams. The article explores the cost of maintaining quality, and the higher cost of failing to maintain quality systems within the laboratories.

Article submitted by Traci Imlau, Program Assistant, NAHLN Program Office, USDA APHIS VS D & B, NVSL, Ames, IA and Christina Loiacono, Coordinator, NAHLN Program Office   USDA APHIS VS D & B, NVSL, Ames, IA  
ASF/CSF active surveillance program
The Integrated ASF/CSF Active Surveillance Program started June 1, 2019. There are currently 45 NAHLN labs approved for ASF and CSF testing. These laboratories have the capability of providing approximately 40,000 ASF PCR tests daily. Ten of the approved laboratories will provide active surveillance and the additional 35 labs will provide passive surveillance through foreign animal disease (FAD) investigation. All 45 laboratories will be available for surge capacity testing.

The approved sample types are: Whole blood (ASF); Tonsil (ASF and CSF); Spleen (ASF and CSF); and/or Lymph node (ASF and CSF). There is currently a validation in progress on Oral Fluids as a potential sample type.

Article submitted by Christina Loiacono, Coordinator, NAHLN Program Office   USDA APHIS VS D & B, NVSL, Ames, IA  
ASF exercises
On February 27-28, APHIS hosted an ASF tabletop exercise (TTX) at the National Centers for Animal Health. The discussion-based exercise focused on a hypothetical outbreak of ASF in North America. The outbreak started outside the United States and eventually moved into the U.S., affecting directly or indirectly the 13 participating states. The exercise was designed to challenge a state’s existing response plan and move states through the many phases of an expanding FAD outbreak, while focusing on mitigation and response issues that may be unique or different for ASF, as related to other FADs, such as FMD. Representatives from NVSL-Ames, NVSL-Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and NVSL-NAHLN participated to provide an opportunity to address laboratory issues associated with an outbreak situation. In addition, changes in strategies and procedures based on the type of infected swine (i.e., commercial, transitional, and/or feral) were considered at each stage of the exercise. The goal of the exercise was to review and revise existing FAD plans to assure their capacity to address an outbreak of ASF. Gaps identified during this exercise will be incorporated in the planning for another ASF Tabletop scheduled for later in 2019.
On April 25-26, a discussion-based TTX was held dealing with an outbreak of ASF in North America. The exercise was designed to challenge each participating state’s existing ASF response plan and move states through select phases of a FAD outbreak. This TTX was designed to prepare states for the associated one-day functional exercises and drills, planned for September 2019, during the Swine Fever Exercises for Agriculture Response exercise series.

Article submitted by Traci Imlau, Program Assistant, NAHLN Program Office, USDA APHIS VS D & B, NVSL, Ames, IA and Christina Loiacono, Coordinator, NAHLN Program Office USDA APHIS VS D & B, NVSL, Ames, IA  
Getting to Know Us:
Dr. John Bare, Associate Coordinator,
National Animal Health Laboratory Network
Dr. Bare received a B.A. in Biology from Wartburg College and D.V.M. from Iowa State University. Post-graduation he worked in private practice in Dubuque, IA. After several months as a Reserve VMO during the 2002-2003 Exotic Newcastle Disease (END) Outbreak in California, Dr. Bare accepted a position with Veterinary Services as a Field VMO for Missouri. His focus in Missouri was with the transmissible spongiform encephalopathy diseases, emergency response activities, and a variety of other field duties. In 2008, he began working with the VS Professional Development Services (PDS), developing and implementing program disease and emergency response training primarily for state and federal field staff. Since 2016, he has served as a swine commodity health specialist in for the Aquaculture, Swine, Equine & Poultry Health Center. His work included swine enteric corona virus, pseudorabies, swine brucellosis, foreign animal disease surveillance and served as the National Animal Health Laboratory Network liaison.

Throughout his career John has worked with the entire NAHLN process from the field submitters, the participant labs, and the reference lab. Dr. Bare believes that a functional NAHLN system is a critical component of animal disease response and is excited to be part of continually improving that process.

Before working at your current position, what was the most unusual or interesting job you had?
I would have to say farming with my family. I have learned more from that than I have from any formal education I have received. Our family still rotationally grazes cattle and registered Katahdin sheep.
Are there any random facts about yourself that you could share with us? …hobbies you’d like to share with us?
While still in college I traveled fairly extensively visiting every continent except Antarctica. (Not sure I really want to visit that last one.) Hobbies include writing, model railroading, fishing, hunting, and bacon.
What family information would you like to share?
My wife Chelsea is currently a Policy Analyst with USDA APHIS VS Agriculture Select Agent Services and we have a daughter Caitlin who’s 12 and a son Joshua who’s 7.

Welcome to the NAHLN, Dr. Bare!

Article submitted by Traci Imlau, Program Assistant, NAHLN Program Office, USDA APHIS VS D & B, NVSL, Ames, IA
NAHLN AMR Pilot Project Year 1 Summary Report Now Available
A report describing findings from the first year of the NAHLN antimicrobial resistance (AMR) pilot project was recently released publicly. The full report can be found on the NAHLN website.

Briefly, this report describes information funded through USDA that was collected and submitted to the NAHLN from January 1, 2018 through December 19, 2018. Nineteen laboratories (18 with membership in the NAHLN and one laboratory outside the NAHLN, associated with a U.S. college of veterinary medicine) contributed antimicrobial susceptibility testing data from 3213 veterinary bacterial isolates.
Four major livestock species (cattle, swine, poultry and horses), and two companion animal species (dogs and cats) were covered. Bacterial isolates surveyed were Escherichia coli (E. coli) (1700 isolates across all animal species) , Salmonella enterica spp. (584 isolates across all species), Mannheimia haemolytica (380 isolates from cattle), and Staphylococcus intermedius group (548 isolates from dogs and cats).
Evaluation of antibiotic resistance was confounded by the fact that veterinary clinical breakpoints have not been established for the majority of antibiotic/bacterial combinations in most animal species. Notable exceptions were for dogs/ E. coli, dogs/ Staphylococcus spp. and cattle/ M. haemolytica. Overall, variable resistance rates were noted for those antibiotics with clinical breakpoints. Of note was amoxicillin/clavulanic acid, which had resistance rates of 100% for E. coli recovered from non-urinary tract infections in dogs and cats, and ampicillin, with 100% resistance for E. coli recovered from feline urinary tract infections. For livestock species, resistance rates across drugs with clinical breakpoints ranged from 0-31%. However, this may be conservative due to the lack of clinical breakpoints in most animal species.
Multi-drug resistance (MDR), defined as acquired non-susceptibility to at least one agent in three or more antimicrobial classes, was evaluated in all animal species where sufficient clinical breakpoints were available. Almost 75% of canine E. coli isolates associated with non-urinary tract infections were multi-drug resistant, as were 56.9% of oxacillin-resistant canine Staphylococcus non-urinary tract infections. Conversely, MDR was substantially lower in other animal species/pathogens; 18.7% for cattle M. haemolytica isolates, 6.3% for equine E. coli isolates, 4.8% for canine UTI isolates, and 2.9% for feline E. coli non-urinary tract infection isolates. Again, antibiotic resistance reported here may be conservative due to the lack of clinical breakpoints for most antibiotic classes in most animal species.
Epidemiological cutoff values (ECVs) were also briefly evaluated in this report. ECVs distinguish between organisms with and without phenotypically expressed resistance mechanisms for a bacterial species and a corresponding antibiotic. Generally, these two groups are termed “non-wild type” and “wild type” respectively. ECVs are not designed to be used to guide therapy, but instead serve as a standardized method for comparison of antibiotic resistance internationally, as each country may set clinical breakpoints differently.
This project’s focus is to develop a sampling stream to monitor AMR profiles in animal pathogens routinely isolated by veterinary clinics and diagnostic laboratories across the U.S. Parameters for the project were developed as a collaboration between veterinary diagnostic laboratories belonging to the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD), the Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI), Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine’s Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN), USDA APHIS Veterinary Services Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health (CEAH) and USDA APHIS NAHLN.
The project is continuing in 2019 with minor modifications to the collection parameters. Changes include: removing Salmonella as a surveyed isolate from all species except cattle due to insufficient numbers collected during year 1; replacing Salmonella with Strep. suis for swine replacing Salmonella with Pasteurella multocida for poultry, and replacing Salmonella with Step. equi/zooepidemicus for horses; increasing the number of isolates a laboratory can submit for some categories; increasing the reimbursement pricing for participating laboratories; improving the reporting process for labs by using a spreadsheet uploader script to convert data into an HL7 message; and performing whole genome sequencing of selected isolates.
Article submitted by Beth Harris, Associate Coordinator, M.S., PhD., NAHLN Program Office, USDA APHIS VS D & B, NVSL, Ames, IA.
Round up: 
The current number of NAHLN laboratories at each level in 2018 is as follows:
17 Level 1 laboratories (6 branch labs)
27 Level 2 laboratories (1 branch labs)
7 Level 3 laboratories
1 affiliate laboratory
0 Specialty laboratories

Welcome to the new members of the Coordinating Council:
NAHLN Laboratory Level 2:
Dr. Joseph Garvin - Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), Harrisonburg Regional Laboratory
State Animal Health Official: 
Dr. Beth Thompson - Minnesota
Thank you to the members rotating off the Coordinating Council:
NAHLN Laboratory Level 1:
Dr. Pam Hullinger – formerly of the California Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory
State Animal Health Official: 
Dr. Micheal Raudebaugh – Maryland (retired)
Article submitted by Traci Imlau, Program Assistant, NAHLN Program Office, USDA APHIS VS D & B, NVSL, Ames, IA.
Abbreviation / Acronym Key
  Click Here for Volume 10, No.1 Acronym Key

The following link show a map and laboratory list of laboratories that have been approved as part of the  NAHLN Testing Network .