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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Preliminary Identification of the Primary Select Agents of Bioterrorism. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Responsibilities of a Sentinel Clinical Laboratory within the Laboratory Response Network (LRN)

Sentinel clinical laboratory responsibilities include:
  • Being familiar with reportable disease guidelines within its jurisdiction.
  • Implementing policies and procedures for the referral of diagnostic specimens/isolates suspected to contain an agent of public health significance to the appropriate local or state public health laboratory.
  • Establishing policies and procedures (should reflect the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Sentinel Level Clinical Microbiology Laboratory Guidelines for Suspected Agents of Bioterrorism and Emerging Infectious Diseases) for the direct referral of suspect biothreat agent specimens and/or isolates to the appropriate LRN Reference Laboratory.
  • Maintaining the capability to perform testing as outlined in the ASM Sentinel Level Clinical Microbiology Laboratory Guidelines for Suspected Agents of Bioterrorism and Emerging Infectious Diseases and demonstrating competency.
  • Having a class II or higher certified biosafety cabinet (BSC).
  • Complying with biosafety level II (BSL-2) practices, outlined in the Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories guidelines. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/biosafety/publications/bmbl5/bmbl.pdf. Accessed February 27, 2016.
  • Complying with applicable Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations for a respiratory protection program (includes having policies and procedures in place for the use of fit-tested respiratory equipment).
  • Ensuring that personnel meet federal regulations for packing and shipping infectious substances.
  • Complying with the rules and regulations of the Select Agent Program.
Reference: Sentinel Clinical Laboratories; approved October 2012. ASM website. Available at: http://www.asm.org/images/PSAB/Sentinel-Clinical-Laboratory-Definition_2013.pdf. Accessed February 28, 2016.