When a large-scale animal disease or plant pathogen outbreak occurs, tracking its progress and performing diagnostic tests on thousands of diagnostic samples is a big challenge. To get the job done, it is very important that all the parties involved, including Federal agencies and laboratories managed by State governments and universities, communicate and collaborate effectively.

APHIS Participant Laboratories

APHIS has established various animal health programs within the U.S. to control and eliminate specific diseases impacting agricultural animals. (click here for more information on these diseases) State, university, and private animal diagnostic laboratories within the U.S. are annually approved to conduct testing in support of these APHIS programs. The National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL), the Nation’s animal health reference laboratory for these and other animal diseases, oversees the annual proficiency testing of these laboratories as part of this approval process. (click here for the list of APHIS-approved laboratories).

NAHLN National Animal Health Laboratory Network

The National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) is part of a nationwide strategy that enhances the Nation’s early detection of, response to, and recovery from animal health emergencies. It is a partnership of over 60 Federal, State and university-associated animal health laboratories distributed throughout the U.S., and is capable of testing large numbers of samples for specific disease agents originating from food animals. More information on the NAHLN laboratories and the diseases under the NAHLN’s scope may be found here.

National Plant Protection Laboratory Accreditation Program

APHIS’ Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) safeguards U.S. agriculture and natural resources against the entry, establishment, and spread of economically and environmentally significant pests, and facilitates the safe trade of agricultural products. The National Plant Protection Laboratory Accreditation Program (NPPLAP) is responsible for supporting and evaluating laboratories that conduct testing on plant materials for regulated plant pathogens. PPQ’s Center for Plant Health Science and Technology website contains additional information on NPPLAP, found here.