CORVALLIS, Ore. - The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Oregon State University has formally been approved for membership renewal in the National Animal Health Laboratory Network - a consortium of publicly supported veterinary laboratories providing testing for select animal diseases that can have a major impact on the nation's public health and food supply.

The NAHLN is a cooperative effort between two agencies within the U.S. Department of Agriculture - the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture - and the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians.

The OSU facility is part of a group of approved laboratories that focus their efforts on selected diseases, using standardized testing and computer software enabling rapid and secure sharing of information. As a result, they comprise a comprehensive and coordinated network of federal and state laboratories providing surveillance and monitoring for animal diseases, including foot and mouth disease, avian influenza and West Nile virus that also are major public health concerns.

The network of laboratories is able to respond quickly to a disease outbreak anywhere in the United States with facilities, equipment and trained personnel.

"Testing and performance standards established by the USDA are quite rigid and it's a credit to our staff that we are part of the network," said Jerry Heidel, who directs the lab for OSU's College of Veterinary Medicine. "Our NAHLN diagnosticians have received extensive training in the diagnostic methods used to identify these diseases and take part in periodic proficiency testing by the USDA."

Among the goals of the network are:

  • Protecting human health by decreasing the risk of zoonotic diseases;
  • Protecting animal health to decrease environmental risk and negative economic impact to producers;
  • Protecting the health of domestic and wild animals by lessening the risk of disease transmission between wildlife and livestock;
  • Increasing consumer confidence in the nation's food supply;
  • Maintaining confidence and positive relationships among global trading partners.

The OSU lab is a state-supported regional facility providing a full range of animal disease diagnostic services to veterinarians, livestock producers, pet owners, and biomedical researchers in the state of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.

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Jerry Heidel, 541-737-6964