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Laboratory Response Network. Spokane Regional Health District. What Is the LRN?. A Diverse Laboratory Network

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laboratory response network

Laboratory Response Network

Spokane Regional Health District

What Is the LRN?

A Diverse Laboratory Network

National network of local, state and federal public health, hospital-based, food testing, veterinary and environmental testing laboratories that provide laboratory diagnostics and the capacity to respond to biological and chemical terrorism and other public health emergencies.

Multi-agency collaboration

The LRN is a partnership involving key stakeholders in the preparation and response to biological and chemical threats. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in conjunction with, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) are its founding partners.

LRN Structure for Bioterrorism

National Laboratories

National laboratories, including those operated by CDC, are responsible for specialized strain characterizations, bioforensics, select agent activity, and handling highly infectious biological agents and toxic chemicals.

Reference Labs

Reference laboratories - responsible for investigation and/or referral of specimens --are made up of more than 140 state and local public health, military, federal, and international laboratories. Lab types include veterinary, agriculture, food and water testing laboratories. In addition to laboratories located in the U.S., facilities located in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom serve as reference laboratories abroad

Sentinel Laboratories

Sentinel laboratories provide routine diagnostic services, rule-out and referral steps in the identification process.

Although these laboratories may not be equipped to perform the same tests as LRN reference laboratories, they can test samples to determine whether those samples should be shipped to reference or national laboratories for further testing.

Only LRN labs can test for biological substances
  • Identify, preserve evidence
  • Packaging and shipping of biological substances to CDC
  • Local SME on bioterrorism
  • First responder training on WMD
  • Sentinel lab workshop
  • Forensic epidemiology
  • Anthrax
  • Plague
  • Tularemia
  • Brucellosis
  • Glanders
  • Meliodosis
  • Ricin toxin
  • Orthopox virus(smallpox family)
emergency preparedness
Emergency Preparedness

Washington State Public Health Laboratories conducted a study of public health needs across the state and concluded a regional lab site was needed in Eastern Washington they designated Spokane Regional Health District to do laboratory testing for the state of Washington.

The State Lab designated us to be part of the emergency preparedness team with funding from the PHEPR consolidated contract. We have trained to be prepared for emergencies in our communities.

of Coverage of the Laboratory Response Network in the United States

Page last modified March 11, 2005

300 miles


SRHD was certified in 2004 and since have tested over 75 samples for select agents of bioterrorism.

We have identified tularemia, brucella, and plague from patient samples sent from our sentinel laboratories.

our partners
Our Partners

SRHD is the anthrax testing laboratory for the postal distribution centers in Spokane and Pasco.

SRHD received grant money from the Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS) to purchase equipment to be able to increase our testing capabilities.

Work with FBI and epidemiology to identify bioterrorism attack versus naturally occurring outbreaks.

why regional
Why Regional?

The most important reason is rapid response.

By testing locally, we can increase the turn around time sometimes by days. With many of these agents, that may be the difference between life and death.


Most bang for your buck with highest amount of causalities with minimal costs

Self replicating injury

Minimal education needed- u tube and terrorist book instructions

Affects first responders and health care professionals first

Modern transportation causes spread immediately

Threat countries have naturally occurring sources of biological agents

Local cases

kenneth olson
Kenneth Olson

Convicted of possession of biological toxin with intent to use.

Ricin toxin and sprayers, Spokane Valley, WA

ken harpham
Ken Harpham

Convicted of possession of WMD with intent to use.

Poison and biological substances spiked shrapnel , downtown Spokane, WA.

storage locker search
Storage locker search

Recovered instructions on how to make ricin.

Biological growth media and petri dishes, Coeur D’ Alene, ID

white powder letters
Various locations include:


Coeur D’ Alene

Walla Walla


Indian Reservation, etc

Targets responded to include:


Mayor’s office

Spokane airport

White Powder Letters
spokane regional health district
Spokane Regional Health District

Our Mission is to serve as the region’s public health leader and partner to promote and protect the communities health.