In 1999 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established the Laboratory Response Network (LRN). The LRN’s purpose is to run a network of labs that can respond to biological and chemical threats, and other public health emergencies. The LRN has grown since its inception. It now includes state and local public health, veterinary, military, and international labs. Prospective reference labs must have the equipment, trained personnel, properly designed facilities, and must demonstrate testing accuracy. Our Arizona Public Health Laboratory is part of the Network, qualified to work on both biological and chemical agents.
As part of the LRN, our Public Health Lab has been involved in the testing of Anthrax, Avian Influenza and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. Our Public Health Lab has been selected to work with the CDC and Association of Public Health Laboratories to collaboratively develop an enhanced testing capability for toxins, which are the organism that causes botulism. As an Advanced Level Biological LRN, our Public Health Lab will work to develop new technologies for the quicker and more accurate detection of this deadly bacterium.