Press Release

CDC Official to Advise Labs on Testing Patients for Ebola Now That First Case of Deadly Virus Has Been Confirmed in the U.S.

WASHINGTON – Now that the Ebola virus has arrived in the U.S., the ability of clinical laboratories to quickly identify patients who need treatment and require isolation will play a critical role in preventing an outbreak. To help labs prepare for this, AACC will host a webinar on October 7 featuring Nancy E. Cornish, MD, a medical officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Laboratory Science and Standards.

WHO: Dr. Cornish helped develop the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Specimen Collection, Transport, Testing, and Submission for Persons Under Investigation for Ebola Virus and Disease in the United States which was written to help labs manage and test specimens from suspected Ebola patients. 

Microbiology and point-of-care expert Sheldon Campbell, MD, PhD, will also present during the webinar, and former AACC President Catherine Hammett-Stabler, PhD, will moderate the discussion. Dr. Campbell is director of laboratories at VA Connecticut Health System and associate professor of laboratory medicine at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, and Dr. Hammett-Stabler is a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine with the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill. 

WHEN: Tuesday, October 7, 2–3 p.m. EDT

WHERE: Developing a Plan for Specimen Management and Testing of Patients With Ebola and Other Emerging Viruses
WHY: The first case of Ebola to be diagnosed outside of Africa was confirmed in Dallas on September 30.
As of late September, the worsening Ebola epidemic has claimed more than 3,000 lives, infected more than 6,500 patients—and has slipped through the screening net that authorities implemented in West African airports. Now that the virus has spread beyond Africa, clinical testing will be a frontline weapon in the effort to get patients the help they need and contain the disease. As an unfortunate example, doctors initially sent the Ebola patient in Dallas home with antibiotics, delaying his treatment and creating a public health risk that might have been avoided if proper testing had identified his illness.

Diagnosing Ebola comes with unique challenges, however, that many labs would not ordinarily be prepared to face, making it crucial for labs to develop plans ahead of time for testing specimens from suspected Ebola virus patients. A chief concern is the special biohazard handling that Ebola testing requires; labs conducting it must perform a delicate balancing act of meeting patient needs while still protecting their staff and not compromising care for the many other patients they serve who do not have Ebola. 

In AACC’s webinar, Drs. Cornish, Campbell, and Hammett-Stabler will address these issues, as well as topics such as the importance of distinguishing between Ebola and other emerging viruses like SARS and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, and the role point-of-care testing plays in managing patients with suspected emerging viruses. The presenters will also respond to issues brought up in a survey that AACC is currently conducting to determine how prepared U.S. labs are to respond to suspected Ebola virus specimens, the results of which AACC plans to share with public health agencies.
HOW: To attend this webinar as press, for interviews, or additional information please contact Molly Polen, AACC Director of Communications & PR, at 202.420.7612 or [email protected]

About AACC

Dedicated to achieving better health through laboratory medicine, AACC brings together more than 50,000 clinical laboratory professionals, physicians, research scientists, and business leaders from around the world focused on clinical chemistry, molecular diagnostics, mass spectrometry, translational medicine, lab management, and other areas of breaking laboratory science. Since 1948, AACC has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing programs that advance scientific collaboration, knowledge, expertise, and innovation. For more information, visit

Media Contacts

Christine DeLong
Association for Diagnostics & Laboratory Medicine
Associate Director, Communications & PR
(p) 202.835.8722
[email protected]

Molly Polen
Association for Diagnostics & Laboratory Medicine
Senior Director, Communications & PR
(p) 202.420.7612
(c) 703.598.0472
[email protected]