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Laboratory Response Network

The Laboratory Response Network (LRN) is a consortium of local, state and federal public health, clinical, food testing, veterinary, and environmental testing laboratories intended to provide a coordinated and immediate response to biological and chemical terrorism, emerging infectious diseases, and other public health emergencies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Association of Public Health Laboratories, coordinates efforts at the national level to link state and local public health reference laboratories with federal laboratories that conduct confirmatory and advanced level testing.

New York State Laboratory Response Network

The NYS LRN coordinates biological and chemical LRN activities within the Wadsworth Center and between the Center and its preparedness partners, including local, state and federal health, first responder and law enforcement agencies, reference and clinical sentinel laboratories serving NYS.

There are four LRN biological reference laboratories in NYS. The Wadsworth Center coordinates statewide laboratory communication, and together with the other LRN reference laboratories, provides necessary expertise and assistance to sentinel laboratories, and develops and distributes various outreach and training materials. The four NYS LRN reference laboratories provide reference level testing for biothreat and emerging infectious diseases. In addition, they provide rapid identification and confirmation of these agents from clinical specimens submitted from sentinel laboratories as well as environmental samples submitted from law enforcement agencies.

The NYS LRN reference laboratories each serve selected counties in NYS and include:

Wadsworth Center

Supporting the following counties: Albany, Broome, Cayuga, Chenango, Clinton, Columbia, Cortland, Delaware, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Montgomery, Nassau, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, Otsego, Rensselaer, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Suffolk, Tioga, Tompkins, Warren and Washington.

Contact information: Biodefense Laboratory - Phone: (518) 474-4177; Chemical Terrorism Laboratory - Phone: (518) 474-7161; After hours phone (both programs): (866) 881-2809

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Public Health Laboratory

Supporting the following counties: Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, and Richmond.

Contact information: Bio Threat Response Laboratory - Phone: (212) 447-1091; Chemical Threat Response Laboratory - Phone: (212) 447-1149; After hours phone (both programs): (212) 764-7667 or (800) 222-1222. 

Erie County Public Health Laboratory

Supporting the following counties: Allegany, Erie, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Ontario, Orleans, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates.

Contact information: Public Health Laboratories – Phone: (716) 898-6100; Emergency Contact (MERS) – Phone: (716) 898-4229; After hours phone: (716) 961-7898.

Westchester County Department of Laboratories and Research

Supporting the following counties: Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan and Ulster.

Contact information: Biodefense Laboratory and Emergency Contact – Phone: (914) 231-1610; After hours phone: (914) 224-4738 or (914) 224-4734

Biological Sentinel LRN Laboratories

Sentinel laboratories follow recommended safety practices (Essentials of Biosafety video), follow LRN testing protocols, submit samples for confirmatory testing to a LRN reference laboratory, and maintain a secure Health Commerce System (HCS) account. NYS LRN sentinel laboratories include the approximately 240 clinical laboratories that hold a permit from the Wadsworth Center's Clinical Laboratory Evaluation Program in the categories of bacteriology general, virology general, or virology-herpes group viruses only. Among the sentinel laboratory responsibilities are maintenance of information related to select agent sentinel laboratory testing capability and capacity, participation in outreach and training activities, and maintaining current and accurate contact information on the HCS’s Communication Directory.

LRN Chemical Laboratories

Sixty-two partner laboratories across the U.S. and its territories comprise the LRN Chemical Network. A designation of Level 1, 2, or 3 identifies laboratory capabilities and defines member network participation.

Level 3 Laboratories These laboratories work with hospitals and other first responders within their jurisdiction to maintain competency in clinical specimen collection, storage, and shipment.

Level 2 Laboratories Chemists in these laboratories are trained to detect exposure to a number of toxic chemical agents. Analysis of cyanide, nerve agents, and toxic metals in human samples are examples of Level 2 activities.

Level 1 Laboratories Ten laboratories currently participate in Level 1 activities. These laboratories are equipped with instrumentation to detect not only the toxic chemical agents that Level 2 laboratories can detect but also can detect exposure to an expanded number of chemicals. The Wadsworth Center is one of the ten regional state laboratories designated by the CDC as a national resource for biomonitoring of chemical threat agents, toxicants and their metabolites. The Wadsworth Center Chemical Lab is the only lab in New York State that can test for suspect chemical agents in environmental samples. These laboratories, which serve as surge-capacity network laboratories for CDC, are able to rapidly process samples to measure human exposure to an expanded number of chemicals, including mustard agents, cyanide, nerve agents, toxic metals and other toxic industrial chemicals. Level 1 and 2 laboratories also maintain competency and supplies to store and ship biospecimens.

Preparedness activities include the development and distribution of Chemical Terrorism posters to emergency rooms and clinical laboratories describing the appropriate collection and shipping of biological specimen during an emergency. The Wadsworth Center maintains preparedness through frequent proficiency tests and surge exercises and has sufficient reagents on hand to analyze 1,000 samples for each target chemical using validated LRN-C methods.