Lab Matters Spring 2019 - Page 33

PUBLIC HEALTH PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE laboratory in the state in 2018. occurred in an academic laboratory in the state. Andy Cannons Ed Kopp Agreement, we plan to ask for funding for a partial full-time equivalent personnel from the Public Health and Emergency Preparedness cooperative agreement. Regardless of funding, we will continue outreach with sentinel labs in the form of workshops and other training opportunities.” Laboratory Director Andrew Cannons, PhD, HCLD/CC (ABB) and Biosafety Outreach Officer Edgar Kopp Florida Department of Health Bureau of Public Health Laboratories (BPHL) – Tampa What gap(s) do you believe still need to be addressed in regards to biosafety and biosecurity? “Clinical labs have to test a large number of specimens as quickly and cheaply as possible. Due to space, time and/or monetary constraints, errors can occur even when staff are aware of the potential biosafety gaps in their testing procedures. This has led to continued Brucella exposures across Florida. Biosafety cabinets (BSCs) are not used when they should be for specimen and culture observation and manipulation. Basic biosafety practices, such as capping tubes and working in a BSC when vortex mixing a solution containing bacterial cultures, are sometimes not followed. This is especially unfortunate when that culture contained a low inhalation infectious dose bacterium such as Brucella, with vortex mixing noted in the biosafety literature as being a major aerosol generating activity.” PublicHealthLabs @APHL What is the future plan for biosafety for your public health laboratory? “In the past year, NCSLPH provided two very exciting and successful opportunities for public health partners in North Carolina. A workshop titled ‘Fostering a Culture of Biosafety’, facilitated by Eagleson Institute was designed to provide valuable training to host clinical laboratories and local health departments. Recently, NCSLPH joined with APHL to host a forum to discuss the effectiveness of biosafety outreach programs between public health and clinical laboratories and the ongoing biosafety needs of clinical laboratories in NC.” n “BPHL will maintain its culture of safety as well as possible in the years following the ending of the ELC Biosafety funding. Training, biosafety risk assessments, exercises and other biosafety initiatives will be continued as required to meet Select Agent regulations, OSHA requirements and other legal obligations while trying as much as possible to do more beyond that. BPHL is working with the Florida legislature to establish permanent biosafety outreach officer positions to continue the biosafety work it began under ELC Biosafety funding well into the future.” Biosafety Officer Kristin Long, PhD North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health (NCSLPH) What is one key accomplishment in biosafety and biosecurity you are proud to share? “Providing increased biosafety support to our public health partners throughout North Carolina. We created a Biosafety section on the state laboratory website that includes links to document templates, free training opportunities and biosafety guidance resources. In addition, we designed fillable templates for both a BSL2 Biosafety Plan and a Biorisk Assessment and Mitigation Worksheet offered through the website. We have worked alongside our Communicable Diseases group and presented biosafety information at numerous public health meetings and venues as well as collaborating with them and the CDC to investigate a unique lab associated infection that occurred in an academic APHL.org Kristin Long At the national level, APHL will continue its efforts to support public health and private clinical laboratories with strengthening biosafety and biosecurity. More information on APHL’s initiatives is available at: www.aphl.org/biosafety. To share your stories or request assistance, contact APHL at biosafety@aphl.org. Spring 2019 LAB MATTERS 31