Winter 2015​

Risk assessments, improved communications and technical assistance are only some of the ways APHL is helping efforts to combat Ebola Zaire.

Erin Swaney reviewing flowchart for sample inactivation while training Biothreat team members

Erin Swaney reviewing flowchart for sample inactivation while training Biothreat team members Wanda Songy, Garrick Gillispie and Mark Mergen. Photo: Andrew Vinyard, Texas Public Health Laboratory

The unprecedented epidemic of Ebola Zaire has positioned APHL at the center of laboratory response activities, both in the US and internationally. The association has collaborated with the Laboratory Response Network for Biological Threats Preparedness (LRN-B) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prepare US state and local public health laboratories to conduct preliminary testing for the Ebola Zaire virus using the DoD real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) assay. Currently 42 public health laboratories across the US have testing capability and more are slated to bring up the for Ebola Zaire DoD assay soon.

APHL also has authored “Guidance for Clinical Laboratories Using FDA Authorized Diagnostic Assays for Ebola Virus Detection” and collaborated on development of other laboratory guidance documents including a template to assist public health laboratories to assess risk at their of facilities prior to implementation of the DoD assay. APHL continues to coordinate national conference calls, provide technical assistance to members and partners, and respond to media inquiries.

Working in Africa to Strengthen Lab Capacity

Internationally, APHL is working with the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) to strengthen laboratory capacity on the continent. It has helped stand up the African Public Health Laboratory Network and, in collaboration with CDC, improved communications among African laboratory leaders by developing an Ebola webpage and listserv. In conjunction with the ASLM Annual Meeting in December, APHL will hold a training to prepare African laboratories to respond to the Ebola epidemic.

APHL's role in the international response to Ebola is anticipated to expand over time. The association has joined with ASLM, CDC and the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa to propose a coordinated effort to assess laboratory capacity and preparedness for Ebola across Africa. Training and technical assistance would follow the assessment of national capacity.

100% of the funding for this project came from federal sources.

For more information contact, Chris Mangal, MPH, director, Public Health Preparedness and Response, 240.485.2769,