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Product title :

Real-time laboratory exercises to test contingency plans for classical swine fever: experiences from two national laboratories

Author(s) : F. Koenen, Å. Uttenthal & A. Meindl-Böhmer

Summary :

In order to adequately and efficiently handle outbreaks of contagious diseases such as classical swine fever (CSF), foot and mouth disease or highly pathogenic avian influenza, competent authorities and the laboratories involved have to be well prepared and must be in possession of functioning contingency plans. These plans should ensure that in the event of an outbreak access to facilities, equipment, resources, trained personnel, and all other facilities needed for the rapid and efficient eradication of the outbreak is guaranteed, and that the procedures to follow are well rehearsed. It is essential that these plans are established during ‘peace-time’ and are reviewed regularly. This paper provides suggestions on how to perform laboratory exercises to test preparedness and describes the experiences of two national reference laboratories for CSF. The major lesson learnt was the importance of a well-documented laboratory contingency plan. The major pitfalls encountered were shortage of space, difficulties in guaranteeing biosecurity and sufficient supplies of sterile equipment and consumables. The need for a standardised laboratory information management system, that is used by all those involved in order to reduce the administrative load, is also discussed.

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