Educational Challenge Program

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“Facilitating Sentinel Laboratory Preparedness”

Sentinel laboratories (i.e. hospital and other clinical laboratories) are a vital component of the Laboratory Response Network (LRN).  Sentinel facilities may well be the first to recognize illnesses or outbreaks that could result from a bioterrorism event.  The role of the Sentinel Laboratory is to rule out biologic agents of suspicion or, if these agents cannot be ruled out, to refer specimens to a Reference Laboratory for confirmation or identification.  CDC has developed safe procedures for use by Sentinel Laboratories when ruling out these biologic agents.  The Missouri State Public Health Laboratory (MSPHL) serves as the LRN Reference Laboratory for the State of Missouri.

CDC categorizes biologic agents as Category A, B or C, estimating the agent’s: “potential to be used as weapons, based on ease of dissemination of transmission, potential for major public health impact (e.g. high mortality), potential for public panic and social disruption, and requirements for public health preparedness. *” The agents of most concern are deemed “Category A” agents.  The Educational Challenge Program from the State Public Health Laboratory is designed to exercise Sentinel Laboratory’s use of LRN procedures in ruling out CDC Category A and B Agents.

The Emergency Response Outreach and Training (EROT) unit of the MSPHL is offering a series of educational challenges designed to exercise a Sentinel laboratory’s use of LRN procedures in ruling out CDC’s “Category A” agents.  The challenge does not utilize live organisms, but is presented in written and image format. Occasionally prepared slides (stained and unstained) are used to evaluate participant’s ability to read Gram stain slides. Only sentinel laboratories within the Missouri Laboratory Response Network (MOLRN) can participate in this program.

Participation in this program will assist sentinel laboratories in ascertaining their level of preparedness in dealing with agents that could pose bioterror threats.  The challenges are intended to be educational and as such will not be graded.

Upon submission of results, facilities will be supplied with the intended response and a discussion of suggested LRN procedures and methods.

For more information or to register to receive Educational Challenges click on program brochure below:

Or contact:
Emergency Response, Outreach and Training Team
Missouri State Public Health Laboratory
101 North Chestnut Street
Jefferson City, MO 65101

Phone: 573-522-1444 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday)
Fax: 573-526-7368
Email: labweb1@health.mo.gov

Bacillus anthracis Francisella tularensis (Tularemia)