Lab Matters Fall 2016 - Page 13

feature LIMS Transition Meeting attendees complete teambuilding exercise APHL is now piloting a system for electronic test ordering and results reporting at the arbovirus laboratory run by the Institut Pasteur in Ho Chi Minh City, which tests specimens for Zika, dengue and other arthropod-borne diseases for 20 of Vietnam’s 58 provinces. Kakkar said, “We want to provide a good solution for all these [provincial] laboratories to refer these samples up even before the physical specimen arrives [at the Institut Pasteur] and to be able to securely get results back.” That solution is an online portal delivering “security, efficiency [and] standardization,” while negating the need for special software. “All [the provincial laboratories] need is a computer and an internet connection.” APHL is also helping to install a LIMS at the emergency operations center (EOC). Said Landgraf, “The EOC is one of our highest GHSA priorities. These are meant to be information hubs so that decisionmakers and epidemiologists . . . will have all the information they need to monitor case reports, lab reports [and] media related to infectious disease outbreaks. APHL’s work with us on LIMS is going to create one of the key data sources in the EOC network, which will be a very valuable tool.” The GHSA-assisted push to create a global public health laboratory infrastructure coincides with a resurgence of pathogens, both ancient and modern. Since August, for example, Rift Valley fever has afflicted dozens of people in western Niger, killing more than 20. Zika virus—first identified in Uganda—is now a significant threat in parts of the Americas. And the problem of drug-resistant “superbugs” has become so pronounced that it was the subject of a rare, health-related United Nations summit in September. The start of an outbreak is an intimate affair—one patient, one family, perhaps a child’s tragic death. But preventing or ending an outbreak is a governmental affair, requiring the ability to definitively detect and track pathogens as they move among local, national and international populations. Needless to say, this cannot be done without the kind of global laboratory network that the GHSA promotes and APHL is helping to strengthen. Said Landgraf, “Laboratory testing is one of the quickest and earliest indicators of an outbreak that we can have.” Reshma Kakkar, Kenneth Landgraf and Hien Thu Bui review materials at Nam Tu Liem Health District Health Center PublicHealthLabs @APHL APHL.org Fall 2016 LAB MATTERS 11