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USDA Selects Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory as Part of National BSE Network
Colorado State University has been selected to be part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's national BSE laboratory network established to increase testing for bovine spongiform encephalopathy or "mad cow disease" in the United States. The University's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory was chosen as one of seven laboratories nationwide for high throughput BSE testing.
The Diagnostic Laboratory is the only one of the facilities selected that is presently equipped with the high throughput equipment needed to conduct the necessary volume of testing. The equipment was installed in 2002 when the Diagnostic Laboratory, in conjunction with the Colorado Department of Wildlife, tested and approved a robotic system for chronic wasting disease testing. The robotic system is part of the Bio-Rad rapid test, also validated at Colorado State, and recently approved by the USDA for BSE testing.
The robotic system automates a portion of the testing procedure, speeding sample preparation and enabling laboratories to provide faster results using fewer technicians. With the automated system, the Diagnostic Laboratory will be able to provide same day results for BSE samples received by noon.
"Using this system, we have tested nearly 47,000 deer and elk samples for CWD in the last 18 months alone, and have a capacity of conducting 990 tests per day," said Dr. Barbara Powers, Director of the Diagnostic Laboratory. "We applaud the USDA's comprehensive BSE testing plan and are working with them to coordinate and implement the details."
According to Dr. Powers, the seven selected laboratories have more than enough capacity to conduct USDA's targeted 268,000 BSE tests over the next 12-18 months. Colorado State 's laboratory alone has the capacity to conduct more than 150,000 tests per year.
In addition to Colorado State's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, the other six selected laboratories are: California Animal Health and Food Safety Lab System, University of California-Davis; Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory-College Station; Wisconsin Animal Health Laboratory-Madison; Washington State University Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory; Athens Diagnostic Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia; and NY State College of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Cornell University. Other laboratories that meet specific criteria may be certified to analyze surveillance samples in the future.
Colorado State University 's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory System's responsibilities include monitoring and testing for animal diseases. The laboratory is part of both of USDA's two networks of laboratories: the TSE contract laboratory network of 26 USDA inspected laboratories, and the National Animal Health Laboratory Network of 12 laboratories. The Colorado State laboratory also is accredited by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians as a full service laboratory for all species of animals.