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National Animal Health Laboratory Network

National Animal Health Laboratory Network  

In 2001, the National Research Council formed a committee to study the susceptibility of United States agriculture to bioterrorism. At the time, terrorist attacks on United States soil were believed to be unlikely. However, the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001 raised the specter of attacks against other targets including essential industries.

There was an increasing awareness of the vulnerability of agriculture and the food system to terrorist interference. The NRC study found that the United States was not equipped to respond to biological threats to animal and public health and the national economy. One of the major roadblocks to agrosecurity was the lack of a network of animal disease diagnostic laboratories capable of diagnosing diseases exotic to the United States. Before 2002, if an animal was suspected of having a foreign animal disease, such as foot and mouth disease, diagnostic specimens could only be sent to the Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (FADDL) on Plum Island for testing and confirmation. Unfortunately, transit times for specimens sent to Plum Island could be lengthy and this delay in turnaround could mean the difference between a successfully quarantined herd and a spreading threat to the food supply and animal and public health.

As a result of the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act became law in 2002. This act enabled the Secretary of Agriculture to develop programs that would enhance tracking of animal diseases and allow better communication between federal and state laboratories. In order to reach this goal, supplemental Homeland Security Funding was used by the Veterinary Services division of APHIS to develop the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) in 2002.

The NAHLN pilot program restructured the manner in which foreign and emerging animal diseases were monitored and confirmed.  Originally, the NAHLN program offered funding for training and improved facilities to twelve laboratories across the country to assist in the detection of certain diseases. However, the National Veterinary Service Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, including the Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory on Plum Island, remains the main reference laboratory in the United States for the detection of animal diseases.

Currently, several laboratories across the United States are available to assist the NVSL in the development of assays for disease detection and surveillance of certain foreign animal diseases that are considered an agrosecurity risk. The NAHLN has developed rapid assays for avian influenza and exotic newcastle disease. Additional rapid assays are being developed for African swine fever, classical swine fever, rinderpest, contagious bovine pleuropneumonia, lumpy skin disease, vesicular stomatitis, rift valley fever and foot and mouth disease. In 2003, APHIS added certain domestic diseases of agricultural importance to the NAHLN surveillance list including scrapie and chronic wasting disease. The NAHLN also works to ensure that animals for export have been properly tested and are free from diseases reportable to the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE).

Internet resources:

National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN)

List of NAHLN Labs

Print resources:

National Research Council. Countering Agricultural Bioterrorism. Washington DC: The National Academies Press, 2003.

National Research Council. Animal Health at the Crossroads: Preventing, Detecting and Diagnosing Animal Diseases. Washington DC: The National Academies Press, 2005.

NAHLN Directory by State 

Below is a list of the NAHLN laboratories approved by APHIS Veterinary Services. The diseases each laboratory is authorized to test for are included in parantheses after the directory listing. These diseases include avian influenza (AI), exotic Newcastle disease (END), bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), classical swine fever (CSF), foot and mouth disease (FMD), chronic wasting disease (CWD) and scrapie.

Alaska: State of Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Anchorage, 907-375-8200 (AI)

Arkansas: Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission Laboratory, Little Rock, 501-907-2400 (AI, END, CWD, scrapie)

Arizona: Arizona Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Tucson, 520-621-2356 (AI, END, CSF, FMD)

California: California Animal Health & Food Safety Lab, Davis, 530-752-8709 (AI, END, BSE, CSF, FMD, CWD, Scrapie)

Colorado: Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, Fort Collins, 970-297-1281 (AI, END, BSE, CSF, FMD, CWD, Scrapie)

Florida: Kissimmee Diagnostic Lab, Kissimmee, 321-697-1405 (AI, END, BSE, CSF, FMD, CWD, Scrapie)

Georgia:Athens Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, Athens, 706-542-5568 (AI, END, BSE, CSF, FMD, CWD, Scrapie)

              University of Georgia Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, Tifton, 229-386-3340 (AI, END, CSF, FMD)

Hawaii: State Laboratories Division, Pearl City, 808-453-6652 (AI, END)

Iowa: Iowa State University, Ames, 515-294-1950 (AI, END, CSF, FMD)

Illinois: Illinois Department of Agriculture, Centralia, 618-532-6701 (CWD, scrapie)

            Illinois Department of Agriculture, Galesburg, 309-344-2451 (AI, END, CWD, scrapie)

Indiana: Purdue University Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab, W Lafayette, 765-494-7460 (AI, END, CSF, FMD, CWD, scrapie)

Kansas: Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, Manhattan, 785-532-4454 (BSE, CSF, FMD, CWD, scrapie)

Kentucky: Breathitt Veterinary Center, Hopkinsville, 270-886-3959 (AI, END, CSF, FMD)

                APHIS/VS Federal Diagnostic Lab, Frankfort, 502-227-9651 (BSE)

Louisiana: Louisiana Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, Baton Rouge, 225-578-9777 (AI, END, CSF, FMD)

Maryland: Maryland Department of Agriculture and Animal Health Lab, Salisbury, 410-543-6610 (AI, END)

Michigan: Diagnostic Center of Population and Animal Health, Lansing, 517-353-0635 (AI, END, CSF, FMD, CWD, scrapie)

Minnesota: Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, St. Paul, 612-625-8787 (AI, END, BSE, CSF, FMD, CWD, scrapie)

Mississippi: Mississippi Veterinary Research and Diagnostic Lab, Jackson, 601-354-6089 (AI, END, CSF, FMD)

Nebraska: Veterinary Diagnostic Center, Lincoln, 402-472-1434 (AI, END, CSF, FMD, CWD, scrapie)

Nevada: Nevada Animal Disease Lab, Reno, 775-668-1182 (AI, END)

New Jersey: New Jersey Department of Agriculture Division of Animal Health, Trenton, 609-984-2293 (AI, END)

New Mexico: New Mexico Department of Agriculture, Albuquerque, 505-841-2576 (AI, END, CSF, FMD, CWD, scrapie)

New York: Animal Health Diagnostic Center, Ithaca, 607-253-4136 (AI, END, BSE, CSF, FMD, CWD, scrapie)

North Carolina: North Carolina Department of Agriculture, Raleigh, 919-733-3986 (AI, END, CSF, FMD)

Ohio: Ohio Department of Agriculture, Reynoldsburg, 614-728-6220 (AI, END, CSF, FMD, CWD, scrapie)

Oregon: Oregon State Veterinary Lab, Corvallis, 541-737-6681 (AI, END, CSF, FMD)

Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Veterinary Lab, Harrisburg, 717-787-8808 (AI, END, BSE, CSF, FMD, CWD, scrapie)

South Carolina: Clemson Veterinary Diagnostic Center, Columbia, 803-788-2260 (AI, END)

South Dakota: Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Lab, Brookings, 605-688-5172 (AI, END, CSF, FMD, CWD, scrapie)

Tennessee: CE Kord Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab, Nashville, 615-837-5125 (AI, END, CSF, FMD)

Texas: Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab, College Station, 979-845-9000 (AI, END, BSE, CSF, FMD, CWD, scrapie

           Texas A&M University, Amarillo, 806-353-7478 (CWD, scrapie)

Utah: Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, Logan, 435-797-1895 (AI, END, CSF, FMD, CWD, scrapie)

Virginia: Virginia Department of Agriculture and Animal Health Lab, Harrisonburg, 540-434-3897 (AI, END)

Washington: Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab, Pullman, 509-335-9696 (AI, END, BSE, CSF, FMD, CWD, scrapie)

Wisconsin: Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, Madison, 608-262-5432 (AI, END, BSE, CSF, FMD, CWD, scrapie)

                  USGS National Wildlife Health Center, Madison, 608-270-2400 (AI)

Wyoming: Wyoming State Veterinary Lab, Laramie, 307-742-6681 (CSF, FMD, CWD, scrapie)

Please keep in mind that the labs associated with NAHLN change constantly. Therefore, this list can only be considered complete on the day of posting. (May 26, 2006)


Last Updated:10/2/2009 12:30 AM

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